Stimulator of interferon genes (STING) plays a key role in detecting cytosolic DNA and induces type I interferon (IFN-I) responses for host defense against pathogens. Although T cells highly express STING, its physiological role remains unknown. Here, we show that costimulation of T cells with the STING ligand cGAMP and TCR leads to IFN-I production and strongly inhibits T-cell growth. TCR-mediated mTORC1 activation and sustained activation of IRF3 are required for cGAMP-induced IFN-I production, and the mTORC1 activity is partially counteracted by cGAMP, thereby blocking proliferation. This mTORC1 inhibition in response to costimulation depends on IRF3 and IRF7. Effector T cells produce much higher IFN-I levels than innate cells in response to cGAMP. Finally, we demonstrated that STING stimulation in T cells is effective in inducing antitumor responses in vivo. Our studies demonstrate that the outputs of STING and TCR signaling pathways are mutually regulated through mTORC1 to modulate T-cell functions.
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