STING and the innate immune response to nucleic acids in the cytosol

Nat Immunol. 2013 Jan;14(1):19-26. doi: 10.1038/ni.2491.


Cytosolic detection of pathogen-derived nucleic acids is critical for the initiation of innate immune defense against diverse bacterial, viral and eukaryotic pathogens. Conversely, inappropriate responses to cytosolic nucleic acids can produce severe autoimmune pathology. The host protein STING has been identified as a central signaling molecule in the innate immune response to cytosolic nucleic acids. STING seems to be especially critical for responses to cytosolic DNA and the unique bacterial nucleic acids called 'cyclic dinucleotides'. Here we discuss advances in the understanding of STING and highlight the many unresolved issues in the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Cytosol / immunology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Nucleotides, Cyclic / immunology*
  • Protein Transport / immunology
  • Signal Transduction


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nucleotides, Cyclic
  • STING1 protein, human