Cytoplasmic DNA as a danger signal for mammalian cells. (2010–2012)
DNA in mammalian cells is contained within a structure known as the nucleus. The presence of DNA outside the nucleus in the cytoplasm of the cells is a sure sign that something is wrong, and may indicate the presence of a viral invader. In this case the cell initiates anti-viral responses, including production of anti-viral proteins and death of the infected cell to stop replication of the virus. Lack of proper control of these responses may contribute to the autoimmune disease lupus.