How the Innate Immune DNA Sensing cGAS-STING Pathway Is Involved in Autophagy

The cGAS-STING pathway is a key component of the innate immune system and exerts crucial roles in the detection of cytosolic DNA and invading pathogens. Accumulating evidence suggests that the intrinsic cGAS-STING pathway not only facilitates the production of type I interferons (IFN-I) and inflammatory responses but also triggers autophagy. Autophagy is a homeostatic process that exerts multiple effects on innate immunity. However, systematic evidence linking the cGAS-STING pathway and autophagy is still lacking. Therefore, one goal of this review is to summarize the known mechanisms of autophagy induced by the cGAS-STING pathway and their consequences. The cGAS-STING pathway can trigger canonical autophagy through liquid-phase separation of the cGAS-DNA complex, interaction of cGAS and Beclin-1, and STING-triggered ER stress-mTOR signaling. Furthermore, both cGAS and STING can induce non-canonical autophagy via LC3-interacting regions and binding with LC3. Subsequently, autophagy induced by the cGAS-STING pathway plays crucial roles in balancing innate immune responses, maintaining intracellular environmental homeostasis, alleviating liver injury, and limiting tumor growth and transformation.


DNA sensing; IFN; STING; autophagy; cGAS; innate immunity.

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