The cGAS-STING signaling pathway contributes to the inflammatory response and autophagy in Aspergillus fumigatus keratitis.

The cGAS-STING signaling pathway contributes to the inflammatory response and autophagy in Aspergillus fumigatus keratitis.

Exp Eye Res. 2020 Nov 20;:108366

Authors: Han F, Guo H, Wang L, Zhang Y, Sun L, Dai C, Wu X

Abstract
Fungal keratitis is a serious corneal infection, which can lead to significant visual impairment and blindness. The cGAS-STING signaling pathway has emerged as a key player in innate immunity by sensing of invading pathogens. However, the role of the cGAS-STING pathway in Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) keratitis is still unknown. In this study, we showed that the cGAS-STING signaling pathway was activated in human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs) and in mouse corneas infected with A. fumigatus. Knockdown of cGAS reduced A. fumigatus-induced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IFN-β. However, reconstruction of cGAS activity restored the inflammatory response in HCECs infected with A. fumigatus. A specific cGAS inhibitor, RU.521, could also significantly inhibit A. fumigatus-induced inflammatory cytokine expression. In addition, we found that cGAS was indispensable for the autophagy flux evoked by A. fumigatus infection. Moreover, inhibition of cGAS using siRNA or RU.521 alleviated the severity of A. fumigatus keratitis in the mouse cornea. Therefore, the cGAS-STING signaling pathway contributes to the progression of A. fumigatus keratitis and targeting this pathway may provide therapeutic potential.

PMID: 33227296 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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