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Regulation of IFN signaling is critical in host recognition and response to pathogens while its dysregulation underlies the pathogenesis of several chronic diseases. STimulator of IFN Genes (STING) has been identified as a critical mediator of IFN inducing innate immune pathways, but little is known about direct coregulators of this protein. We report here that TMEM203, a conserved putative transmembrane protein, is an intracellular regulator of STING-mediated signaling. We show that TMEM203 interacts, functionally cooperates, and comigrates with STING following cell stimulation, which in turn leads to the activation of the kinase TBK1, and the IRF3 transcription factor. This induces target genes in macrophages, including IFN-β. Using Tmem203 knockout bone marrow-derived macrophages and transient knockdown of TMEM203 in human monocyte-derived macrophages, we show that TMEM203 protein is required for cGAMP-induced STING activation. Unlike STING, TMEM203 mRNA levels are elevated in T cells from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease characterized by the overexpression of type I interferons. Moreover, TMEM203 mRNA levels are associated with disease activity, as assessed by serum levels of the complement protein C3. Identification of TMEM203 sheds light into the control of STING-mediated innate immune responses, providing a potential novel mechanism for therapeutic interventions in STING-associated inflammatory diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Date





16479 - 16488


Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease, University of Sheffield, S10 2RX Sheffield, United Kingdom.