The cells of the innate immune system of the body can use a signaling pathway containing STING to detect the DNA of foreign invading viruses and protect the body against the infection of the virus. However, researchers are not clear whether STING can induce the same or different immune responses in the body's acquired immune system cells. Recently, in a study published in the international journal Nature Communications, researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne found that T cells may have an unconventional STING response, which was manifested as apoptotic cell death. This may provide new ideas and hopes for researchers to develop new therapies for the treatment of T cell-derived malignancies.

Congenital immune system

The innate immune system is the body's first line of defense, mainly because it can quickly identify the cellular components of various pathogens, such as DNA of viruses. In order to effectively identify foreign invading pathogens, these cells can use receptors to identify cell’s nucleic acid and activate a signal molecule called STING. Once activated, the STING pathway opens up the expression of genes that produce specific signaling molecules (cytokines) to help cells communicate with each other, while also promoting cell activation to counteract the invasion of infectious agents by the body, but researchers are now not clear whether the STING response can have different consequences between different types of cells.

Death of STING

In the article, the researcher Andrea Ablasser and her colleagues observed the consequences of the STING pathway in T cells. The results showed that STING can induce the expression of BH3-only proteins (which are mainly involved in cell death), thereby inducing apoptosis. It does not induce the production of cytokines, such as interferons, which can induce immune responses in the body.

More interestingly, the researchers also found that this pro-apoptotic effect is often detected in cancerous T cells, such as cells that induce T-cell lymphoma. T-cell lymphoma accounts for approximately one-tenth of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The researchers point out that transporting a small molecule that activates the STING pathway may inhibit the growth of T-cell-derived tumors in living organisms.

The study also clarifies the association between STING signal intensity and the different immune responses it produces, which may allow cells to adjust for cell behavior in the presence of external or internal hazards, such as infection or oxidative stress. On the other hand, this study also reveals a novel non-immune effect of the STING pathway, which induces a different effect in the cells of the acquired immune system compared to otitis in the innate immune system cells. In fact, this effect has a pro-apoptotic function, even in cancer cells in the body, which may provide new ideas and research basis for researchers to develop new therapeutic therapies for T-cell lymphoma in the future.

More on signaling pathway

In the most general sense, signaling pathway refers to a group of molecules in a cell that work together to control one or more cell functions like cell division or cell death. The first molecule in a pathway will immediately activate another molecule once it receives a signal, and this process is repeated until the cell function is carried out in the end.

There are many types of signaling pathway based on different areas of biology, such as angiogenesis, metabolism, transcription factors, apoptosis, bone biology, and others. Signaling pathway can get very complicated at times. Also, abnormal activation of signaling pathways can lead to cancer, and drugs are being developed to block these pathways.

Listed below are the signaling pathways that are intensely researched:

JNK Signaling Pathway
mTOR Signaling Pathway
RAS Signaling Pathway
Autophagy Pathway
AMPK Signaling Pathway
IL-1 Receptor Signaling Pathway
Insulin Signaling Pathway
Notch Signaling Pathway
VEGF Signaling Pathway
Wnt Signaling Pathway
Apoptosis Signaling Pathway
B Cell Receptor Signaling Pathway
CTLA4 Signaling Pathway
EGFR Signaling Pathway
Erk Signaling Pathway
GPCR Signaling Pathway
Hedgehog Signaling Pathway
Hippo Signaling Pathway
JAK/STAT Signaling Pathway
MAP Kinase Signaling Pathway
NF-κB Signaling Pathway
NOD-like Receptor Signaling Pathway
PI3K/Akt Signaling Pathway
Gamma Secretase Signalling Pathway
HIF Signaling Pathway
p38 Signaling Pathway
p53 Signaling Pathway
A-beta Pathways: Plaque Formation & APP Metabolism
A-beta Pathways: Uptake & Degradation
CREB Signaling Pathway

Author's Bio: 

Starting as a chemical supplier, BOC Sciences is also dedicated to the compiling of articles concerning signaling pathways as its researchers are working hard to figure out the correlation between different pathways and diseases. To learn more, please visit