Cytosolic DNA sensing via the stimulator of IFN genes (STING) adaptor incites autoimmunity by inducing type I IFN (IFN-αβ). In this study, we show that DNA is also sensed via STING to suppress immunity by inducing IDO. STING gene ablation abolished IFN-αβ and IDO induction by dendritic cells (DCs) after DNA nanoparticle (DNP) treatment. Marginal zone macrophages, some DCs, and myeloid cells ingested DNPs, but CD11b+ DCs were the only cells to express IFN-β, whereas CD11b+ non-DCs were major IL-1β producers. STING ablation also abolished DNP-induced regulatory responses by DCs and regulatory T cells, and hallmark regulatory responses to apoptotic cells were also abrogated. Moreover, systemic cyclic diguanylate monophosphate treatment to activate STING induced selective IFN-β expression by CD11b+ DCs and suppressed Th1 responses to immunization. Thus, previously unrecognized functional diversity among physiologic innate immune cells regarding DNA sensing via STING is pivotal in driving immune responses to DNA.
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