STING (stimulator of interferon genes) is an important innate immune protein, but its homeostatic regulation at the resting state is unknown. Here, we identified TOLLIP as a stabilizer of STING through direct interaction to prevent its degradation. Tollip deficiency results in reduced STING protein in nonhematopoietic cells and tissues, and renders STING protein unstable in immune cells, leading to severely dampened STING signaling capacity. The competing degradation mechanism of resting-state STING requires IRE1α and lysosomes. TOLLIP mediates clearance of Huntington’s disease-linked polyQ protein aggregates. Ectopically expressed polyQ proteins in vitro or endogenous polyQ proteins in Huntington’s disease mouse striatum sequester TOLLIP away from STING, leading to reduced STING protein and dampened immune signaling. Tollip–/– also ameliorates STING-mediated autoimmune disease in Trex1–/– mice. Together, our findings reveal that resting-state STING protein level is strictly regulated by a constant tug-of-war between ‘stabilizer’ TOLLIP and ‘degrader’ IRE1α-lysosome that together maintain tissue immune homeostasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy