Loss of Trex1 in Dendritic Cells Is Sufficient To Trigger Systemic Autoimmunity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Katrin Peschke
  • Martin Achleitner
  • Kathrin Frenzel
  • Alexander Gerbaulet
  • Servi Remzi Ada
  • Nicolas Zeller
  • Stefan Lienenklaus
  • Mathias Lesche
  • Claire Poulet
  • Ronald Naumann
  • Andreas Dahl
  • Ursula Ravens
  • Claudia Günther
  • Klaus-Peter Knobeloch
  • Marco Prinz
  • Axel Roers
  • Rayk Behrendt


Defects of the intracellular enzyme 3' repair exonuclease 1 (Trex1) cause the rare autoimmune condition Aicardi-Goutières syndrome and are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. Trex1(-/-) mice develop type I IFN-driven autoimmunity, resulting from activation of the cytoplasmic DNA sensor cyclic GMP-AMP synthase by a nucleic acid substrate of Trex1 that remains unknown. To identify cell types responsible for initiation of autoimmunity, we generated conditional Trex1 knockout mice. Loss of Trex1 in dendritic cells was sufficient to cause IFN release and autoimmunity, whereas Trex1-deficient keratinocytes and microglia produced IFN but did not induce inflammation. In contrast, B cells, cardiomyocytes, neurons, and astrocytes did not show any detectable response to the inactivation of Trex1. Thus, individual cell types differentially respond to the loss of Trex1, and Trex1 expression in dendritic cells is essential to prevent breakdown of self-tolerance ensuing from aberrant detection of endogenous DNA.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2157-2166
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
Issue number6
Early online date10 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016