Repeat Element Activation-Driven Inflammation: Role of NFκB and Implications in Normal Development and Cancer?

Fiche publication

Date publication

décembre 2022




Membres identifiés du Cancéropôle Est :
Dr DELVA Laurent, Pr LEPAGE Côme, Pr CALLANAN Mary, Dr AUCAGNE Romain, Dr ROSSI Cédric, Dr GUIDEZ Fabien

Tous les auteurs :
Dumetier B, Sauter C, Hajmirza A, Pernon B, Aucagne R, Fournier C, Row C, Guidez F, Rossi C, Lepage C, Delva L, Callanan MB


The human genome is composed of unique DNA sequences that encode proteins and unique sequence noncoding RNAs that are essential for normal development and cellular differentiation. The human genome also contains over 50% of genome sequences that are repeat in nature (tandem and interspersed repeats) that are now known to contribute dynamically to genetic diversity in populations, to be transcriptionally active under certain physiological conditions, and to be aberrantly active in disease states including cancer, where consequences are pleiotropic with impact on cancer cell phenotypes and on the tumor immune microenvironment. Repeat element-derived RNAs play unique roles in exogenous and endogenous cell signaling under normal and disease conditions. A key component of repeat element-derived transcript-dependent signaling occurs via triggering of innate immune receptor signaling that then feeds forward to inflammatory responses through interferon and NFκB signaling. It has recently been shown that cancer cells display abnormal transcriptional activity of repeat elements and that this is linked to either aggressive disease and treatment failure or to improved prognosis/treatment response, depending on cell context and the amplitude of the so-called 'viral mimicry' response that is engaged. 'Viral mimicry' refers to a cellular state of active antiviral response triggered by endogenous nucleic acids often derived from aberrantly transcribed endogenous retrotransposons and other repeat elements. In this paper, the literature regarding transcriptional activation of repeat elements and engagement of inflammatory signaling in normal (focusing on hematopoiesis) and cancer is reviewed with an emphasis on the role of innate immune receptor signaling, in particular by dsRNA receptors of the RIG-1 like receptor family and interferons/NFκB. How repeat element-derived RNA reprograms cell identity through RNA-guided chromatin state modulation is also discussed.

Mots clés

RNA-guided chromatin regulation, histone H3 lysine 9 trimethylation, immune checkpoint blockade, innate immunity, p53, repetitive elements, satellite repeats, viral mimicry


Biomedicines. 2022 12 1;10(12):