Restoration of Proteostasis in the Endoplasmic Reticulum Reverses an Inflammation-Like Response to Cytoplasmic DNA in Caenorhabditis elegans

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Ashley B Williams, Felix Heider, Jan-Erik Messling, Matthias Rieckher, Wilhelm Bloch, Björn Schumacher

Innate immune responses protect organisms against various insults, but may lead to tissue damage when aberrantly activated. In higher organisms, cytoplasmic DNA can trigger inflammatory responses that can lead to tissue degeneration. Simpler metazoan models could shed new mechanistic light on how inflammatory responses to cytoplasmic DNA lead to pathologies. Here we show that in a DNase II-defective Caenorhabditis elegans strain, persistent cytoplasmic DNA leads to systemic tissue degeneration and loss of tissue functionality due to impaired proteostasis. These pathological outcomes can be therapeutically alleviated by restoring protein homeostasis, either via ectopic induction of the endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response or N-acetylglucosamine treatment. Our results establish C. elegans as an ancestral metazoan model for studying the outcomes of inflammation-like conditions caused by persistent cytoplasmic DNA and provide insight into potential therapies for human conditions involving chronic inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGenetics
ISSN1943-2631
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019, Genetics.

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