Message in a bottle: lessons learned from antagonism of STING signalling during RNA virus infection

Kevin Maringer, Ana Fernandez-Sesma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


STING has emerged in recent years as an important signalling adaptor in the activation of type I interferon responses during infection with DNA viruses and bacteria. An increasing body of evidence suggests that STING also modulates responses to RNA viruses, though the mechanisms remain less clear. In this review, we give a brief overview of the ways in which STING facilitates sensing of RNA viruses. These include modulation of RIG-I-dependent responses through STING's interaction with MAVS, and more speculative mechanisms involving the DNA sensor cGAS and sensing of membrane remodelling events. We then provide an in-depth literature review to summarise the known mechanisms by which RNA viruses of the families Flaviviridae and Coronaviridae evade sensing through STING. Our own work has shown that the NS2B/3 protease complex of the flavivirus dengue virus binds and cleaves STING, and that an inability to degrade murine STING may contribute to host restriction in this virus. We contrast this to the mechanism employed by the distantly related hepacivirus hepatitis C virus, in which STING is bound and inactivated by the NS4B protein. Finally, we discuss STING antagonism in the coronaviruses SARS coronavirus and human coronavirus NL63, which disrupt K63-linked polyubiquitination and dimerisation of STING (both of which are required for STING-mediated activation of IRF-3) via their papain-like proteases. We draw parallels with less-well characterised mechanisms of STING antagonism in related viruses, and place our current knowledge in the context of species tropism restrictions that potentially affect the emergence of new human pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCytokine & growth factor reviews
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


  • immune evasion
  • Dengue
  • hepatitis C virus
  • SARS-coronavirus


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  • DENV inhibits type I IFN production in infected cells by cleaving human STING

    Aguirre, S., Maestre, A. M., Pagni, S., Patel, J. R., Savage, T., Gutman, D., Maringer, K., Bernal-Rubio, D., Shabman, R. S., Simon, V., Rodriguez-Madoz, J. R., Mulder, L. C. F., Barber, G. N. & Fernandez-Sesma, A., 2012, In: PLoS Pathogens. 8, 10, p. e1002934

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    327 Citations (Scopus)
  • Mount Sinai Health System

    Kevin Maringer (Visiting researcher)

    5 Mar 2012 → …

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

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