Sensing Danger for an Active Immune Response

  • Author: Melania Tesio
  • Published: 25 February 2013
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Science/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
thumbnail image: Sensing Danger for an Active Immune Response

During infections, bacteria and viruses introduce their own genetic material into host cells. Via mechanisms not fully elucidated, microbic DNA molecules are perceived by the infected cells as a danger signal which activates the immune system.

Lijun Sun and Jiaxi Wu, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA, and colleagues identified the protein that senses foreign DNA molecules thereby triggering the host defense response. The researchers demonstrated that an enzyme called cyclic guanosine monophosphate–adenosine monophosphate synthase (cGAS) binds to microbic DNA and synthesizes cGAMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate–adenosine monophosphate, pictured). This dinucleotide, in turn, activates the production of inflammatory molecules aimed at combatting the infections.

cGAMP could be, thus, used as an endogenous molecule to stimulate the immune system during immune therapies or vaccination protocols.

Article Views: 2132

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission and consult our permisson guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH