During viral replication, the innate immune response is induced through the recognition of viral replication intermediates by host factor(s). One of these host factors, cyclic GMP-AMP synthetase (cGAS), was recently reported to be involved in the recognition of viral DNA derived from DNA viruses. However, it is uncertain whether cGAS is involved in the recognition of hepatitis B virus (HBV), which is a hepatotropic DNA virus. In the present study, we demonstrated that HBV genome-derived double-stranded DNA induced the innate immune response through cGAS and its adaptor protein, stimulator of interferon genes (STING), in human hepatoma Li23 cells expressing high levels of cGAS. In addition, we demonstrated that HBV infection induced ISG56 through the cGAS-STING signaling pathway. This signaling pathway also showed an antiviral response towards HBV through the suppression of viral assembly. From these results, we conclude that the cGAS-STING signaling pathway is required for not only the innate immune response against HBV but also the suppression of HBV assembly. The cGAS-STING signaling pathway may thus be a novel target for anti-HBV strategies.
Keywords: antiviral response; cGAS-STING signaling pathway; hepatitis B virus; innate immune response; viral assembly.
© 2015 FEBS.