Stimulator of Interferon Genes (STING) is a critical component of host innate immune defense but can contribute to chronic autoimmune or autoinflammatory disease. Once activated, the cyclic guanosine monophosphate (GMP)-adenosine monophosphate (AMP) (cGAMP) synthase (cGAS)-STING pathway induces both type I interferon (IFN) expression and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)-mediated cytokine production. Currently, these two signaling arms are thought to be mediated by a single upstream kinase, TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1). Here, using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we show that TBK1 alone is dispensable for STING-induced NF-κB responses in human and mouse immune cells, as well as in vivo. We further demonstrate that TBK1 acts redundantly with IκB kinase ε (IKKε) to drive NF-κB upon STING activation. Interestingly, we show that activation of IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) is highly dependent on TBK1 kinase activity, whereas NF-κB is significantly less sensitive to TBK1/IKKε kinase inhibition. Our work redefines signaling events downstream of cGAS-STING. Our findings further suggest that cGAS-STING will need to be targeted directly to effectively ameliorate the inflammation underpinning disorders associated with STING hyperactivity.
Keywords: IKKε; NF-κB; STING; TBK1; cGAS; cytokines; innate immunity; protein kinases; signal transduction; type I interferons.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.