An emerging role for calcium signalling in innate and autoimmunity via the cGAS-STING axis

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2019 Dec;50:43-51. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2019.04.003. Epub 2019 Apr 2.


Type I interferons are effector cytokines essential for the regulation of the innate immunity. A key effector of the type I interferon response that is dysregulated in autoimmunity and cancer is the cGAS-STING signalling axis. Recent work suggests that calcium and associated signalling proteins can regulate both cGAS-STING and autoimmunity. How calcium regulates STING activation is complex and involves both stimulatory and inhibitory mechanisms. One of these is calmodulin-mediated signalling that is necessary for STING activation. The alterations in calcium flux that occur during STING activation can also regulate autophagy, which in turn plays a role in innate immunity through the clearance of intracellular pathogens. Also connected to calcium signalling pathways is the cGAS inhibitor TREX1, a cytoplasmic exonuclease linked to several autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this review, we summarize these and other findings that indicate a regulatory role for calcium signalling in innate and autoimmunity through the cGAS-STING pathway.

Keywords: Calcium signalling; Innate immunity; SLE; STING; TREX1; Type I interferon response; cGAS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't