Cytosolic double-stranded DNA induces nonnecroptotic programmed cell death in trophoblasts via IFI16

J Infect Dis. 2014 Nov 1;210(9):1476-86. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu272. Epub 2014 May 8.


The mechanisms underlying the immune defense by trophoblasts against pathogens remain ill defined. We demonstrated that placental cell death was increased upon in vivo exposure to Listeria monocytogenes. The death of infected cells is an important host innate defense mechanism. Meanwhile, double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) derived from intracellular bacteria or dsDNA viruses is emerging as a potent pathogen-associated molecular pattern recognized by host cells. We sought to characterize trophoblast death in response to cytosolic dsDNA challenge. Our results showed that dsDNA induced caspase-dependent and -independent cell death in human trophoblasts. However, necroptosis, a cell death pathway independent of caspase, could not be induced by dsDNA treatment, even in the presence of exogenously expressed RIPK3. L. monocytogenes-derived genomic DNA triggered a similar cell death pattern. Moreover, the cell death in response to dsDNA was IFI16 dependent. These data suggest that cytosolic dsDNA induces nonnecroptotic cell death in trophoblasts via IFI16, and this could contribute to placental barrier against infection.

Keywords: IFI16; L. monocytogenes; double-stranded DNA; pregnancy; trophoblasts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Death / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • DNA / pharmacology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Listeria monocytogenes / drug effects*
  • Listeria monocytogenes / physiology
  • Listeriosis / microbiology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*
  • Phosphoproteins / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Trophoblasts / drug effects
  • Trophoblasts / microbiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • IFI16 protein, human
  • DNA
  • Caspases