AIM2 is a cytosolic innate immune receptor which recognizes double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) released during cellular perturbation and pathogenic assault. AIM2 recognition of dsDNA leads to the assembly of a large multiprotein oligomeric complex termed the inflammasome. This inflammasome assembly leads to the secretion of bioactive interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-18 and induction of an inflammatory form of cell death called pyroptosis. Sensing of dsDNA by AIM2 in the cytosol is crucial to mediate protection against the invading pathogens including bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites. AIM2 also responds to dsDNA released from damaged host cells, resulting in the secretion of the effector cytokines thereby driving the progression of sterile inflammatory diseases such as skin disease, neuronal disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Additionally, the protection mediated by AIM2 in the development of colorectal cancer depends on its ability to regulate epithelial cell proliferation and gut microbiota in maintaining intestinal homeostasis independently of the effector cytokines. In this review, we will highlight the recent progress on the role of the AIM2 inflammasome as a guardian of cellular integrity in modulating chronic inflammatory diseases, cancer and infection.
Keywords: AIM2; cell death; gasdermin; inflammasome; pyroptosis.
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