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Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) is a DNA-sensing enzyme in the innate immune system. Recent studies using core-cGAS lacking the N terminus investigated the mechanism for binding of double-stranded (ds) DNA and synthesis of 2',3'-cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP), a secondary messenger that ultimately induces type I interferons. However, the function of the N terminus of cGAS remains largely unknown. Here, we found that the N terminus enhanced the activity of core-cGAS in vivo. Importantly, the catalytic activity of core-cGAS decreased as the length of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) increased, but the diminished activity was restored by addition of the N terminus. Furthermore, the N terminus de-oligomerized the 2 : 2 complex of core-cGAS and dsDNA into a 1 : 1 complex, suggesting that the N terminus enhanced the activity of core-cGAS by facilitating formation of a monomeric complex of cGAS and DNA. © 2017 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.


Arum Lee, Eun-Byeol Park, Janghyun Lee, Byong-Seok Choi, Suk-Jo Kang. The N terminus of cGAS de-oligomerizes the cGAS:DNA complex and lifts the DNA size restriction of core-cGAS activity. FEBS letters. 2017 Mar;591(6):954-961

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PMID: 28214358

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