SARS-CoV-2 infection induces a pro-inflammatory cytokine response through cGAS-STING and NF-κB

0 views • Nov 5, 2021


Author Name

Berati Cerikan


Mirko Cortese

Jamie Frankish

Ji-Young Lee

Florian Heigwer

Sebastian Joecks

Sandy S Burkart

David Y Zander

Mathieu Gendarme

Bachir El Debs

Niels Halama

Uta Merle

Michael Boutros

Marco Binder

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SARS-CoV-2 is a novel virus that has rapidly spread, causing a global pandemic. In the majority of infected patients, SARS-CoV-2 leads to mild disease; however, in a significant proportion of infections, individuals develop severe symptoms that can lead to permanent lung damage or death. These severe cases are often associated with high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and low antiviral responses which can lead to systemic complications. We have evaluated transcriptional and cytokine secretion profiles from infected cell cultures and detected a distinct upregulation of inflammatory cytokines that parallels samples taken from infected patients. Building on these observations, we found a specific activation of NF-κB and a block of IRF3 nuclear translocation in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells. This NF-κB response is mediated by cGAS-STING activation and could be attenuated through STING targeting drugs. Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 curates a cGAS-STING mediated NF-κB driven inflammatory immune response in epithelial cells that likely contributes to inflammatory responses seen in patients and might be a target to suppress severe disease symptoms. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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