eccDNAs are apoptotic products with high innate immunostimulatory activity

Yuangao Wang, Meng Wang, Mohamed Nadhir Djekidel, Huan Chen, Di Liu, Frederick W. Alt, Yi Zhang
2021 Nature  
Extrachromosomal circular DNA elements (eccDNAs) have been described in the literature for several decades, and are known for their broad existence across different species1,2. However, their biogenesis and functions are largely unknown. By developing a new circular DNA enrichment method, here we purified and sequenced full-length eccDNAs with Nanopore sequencing. We found that eccDNAs map across the entire genome in a close to random manner, suggesting a biogenesis mechanism of random ligation
more » ... of genomic DNA fragments. Consistent with this idea, we found that apoptosis inducers can increase eccDNA generation, which is dependent on apoptotic DNA fragmentation followed by ligation by DNA ligase 3. Importantly, we demonstrated that eccDNAs can function as potent innate immunostimulants in a manner that is independent of eccDNA sequence but dependent on eccDNA circularity and the cytosolic DNA sensor Sting. Collectively, our study not only revealed the origin, biogenesis and immunostimulant function of eccDNAs but also uncovered their sensing pathway and potential clinical implications in immune response.
doi:10.1038/s41586-021-04009-w pmid:34671165 pmcid:PMC9295135 fatcat:cjj53gc3yfcqddwmr5nvdofg2a