TENT5 cytoplasmic noncanonical poly(A) polymerases regulate the innate immune response in animals

Sci Adv. 2022 Nov 18;8(46):eadd9468. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.add9468. Epub 2022 Nov 16.


Innate immunity is the first line of host defense against pathogens. Here, through global transcriptome and proteome analyses, we uncover that newly described cytoplasmic poly(A) polymerase TENT-5 (terminal nucleotidyltransferase 5) enhances the expression of secreted innate immunity effector proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans. Direct RNA sequencing revealed that multiple mRNAs with signal peptide-encoding sequences have shorter poly(A) tails in tent-5-deficient worms. Those mRNAs are translated at the endoplasmic reticulum where a fraction of TENT-5 is present, implying that they represent its direct substrates. Loss of tent-5 makes worms more susceptible to bacterial infection. Notably, the role of TENT-5 in innate immunity is evolutionarily conserved. Its orthologs, TENT5A and TENT5C, are expressed in macrophages and induced during their activation. Analysis of macrophages devoid of TENT5A/C revealed their role in the regulation of secreted proteins involved in defense response. In summary, our study reveals cytoplasmic polyadenylation to be a previously unknown component of the posttranscriptional regulation of innate immunity in animals.