ER-directed TREX1 limits cGAS activation at micronuclei. Mohr et al.

Published: 11 January 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/d8p53cv3ry.1
John Maciejowski


Micronuclei are aberrant nuclear compartments that can form as a result of chromosome mis-segregation. Frequent loss of micronuclear envelope integrity exposes DNA to the cytoplasm, leading to chromosome fragmentation and immune activation. Here, we use micronuclei purification to show that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated nuclease TREX1 inhibits cGAS activation at micronuclei by degrading micronuclear DNA upon micronuclear envelope rupture. We demonstrate that the ER accesses ruptured micronuclei and plays a critical role in enabling TREX1 nucleolytic attack. TREX1 mutations, previously implicated in immune disease, untether TREX1 from the ER, disrupt TREX1 localization to micronuclei, diminish micronuclear DNA damage, and enhance cGAS activation. These results establish ER-directed resection of micronuclear DNA by TREX1 as a critical regulator of cytosolic DNA sensing in chromosomally unstable cells and provide a mechanistic basis for the importance of TREX1 ER tethering in preventing autoimmunity.


Steps to reproduce

Immunoblotting, live-cell imaging, immunofluorescence, Nanostring


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Molecular Biology, Cell Biology