IFN-γ-inducible protein 16 (IFI16) is an immunological DNA sensor proposed to act in the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase-stimulator of IFN genes pathway. Because mice do not have a clear ortholog of IFI16, this system is not suitable for genetic studies of IFI16. In this study, we have compared the dependency on IFI16, cyclic GMP-AMP synthase, and stimulator of IFN genes for type I IFN induction by a panel of pathogenic bacteria and DNA viruses. The IFN response induced by HSV-2 was particularly dependent on IFI16. In a cohort of patients with genital herpes and healthy controls, the minor G allele of the IFI16 single nucleotide polymorphism rs2276404 was associated with resistance to infection. Furthermore, the combination of this allele with the C allele of rs1417806 was significantly overrepresented in uninfected individuals. Cells from individuals with the protective GC haplotype expressed higher levels of IFI16 and induced more IFN-β upon HSV-2 infection. These data provide genetic evidence for a role for IFI16 in protection against genital herpes.
Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.