Cyclic guanosine monophosphate–adenosine monophosphate synthase (cGAS) detects cytoplasmic microbial DNA and self-DNA from genomic instability, initiates innate immunity, and plays fundamental roles in defense against viruses and the development of various diseases. The cellular cGAS level determines the magnitude of the response to DNA. However, the underlying mechanisms of the control of cGAS stability, especially its feedback regulation during viral infection, remain largely unknown. In this study, we show that viral infection induces the expression of the UAF1–USP1 deubiquitinase complex in primary peritoneal macrophages (PMs) of C57BL/6J mice. UAF1–USP interacts with cGAS, selectively cleaves its K48-linked polyubiquitination, and thus stabilizes its protein expression in PMs and HEK293T cells. Concordantly, the UAF1–USP1 deubiquitinase complex enhances cGAS-dependent type I IFN responses in PMs. Uaf1 deficiency and ML323 (a specific inhibitor of UAF1–USP1 deubiquitinase complex) attenuates cGAS-triggered antiviral responses and facilitates viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, our study uncovers a positive feedback mechanism of cGAS-dependent antiviral responses and suggests the UAF1–USP1 complex as a potential target for the treatment of diseases caused by aberrant cGAS activation.

You do not currently have access to this content.