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Cytokine production is a critical component of cell-extrinsic responses to DNA damage and cellular senescence. Here, we demonstrated that expression of the gene encoding interleukin-19 (IL-19) was enhanced by DNA damage through pathways mediated by c-Jun amino-terminal kinase (JNK) and cGAS-STING and that IL19 expression was required for the subsequent production of the cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and IL-8. IL19 expression was stimulated by diverse cellular stresses, including inhibition of the DNA replication checkpoint kinase ATR (ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related protein), oncogene expression, replicative exhaustion, oxidative stress, and DNA double-strand breaks. Unlike the production of IL-6 and IL-8, IL19 expression was not affected by abrogation of signaling by the IL-1 receptor (IL-1R) or the mitogen-activated protein kinase p38. Instead, the DNA damage–induced production of IL-1, IL-6, and IL-8 was substantially reduced by suppression of IL19 expression. The signaling pathways required to stimulate IL19 expression selectively depended on the type of DNA-damaging agent. Reactive oxygen species and the ASK1-JNK pathway were critical for responses to ionizing radiation (IR), whereas the cGAS-STING pathway stimulated IL19 expression in response to either IR or ATR inhibition. Whereas induction of IL1, IL6, and IL8 by IR depended on IL19 expression, the cGAS-STING–dependent induction of the immune checkpoint gene PDL1 after IR and ATR inhibition was independent of IL19. Together, these results suggest that IL-19 production by diverse pathways forms a distinct cytokine regulatory arm of the response to DNA damage.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Science Signaling, volume 14, issue 174, in 2021 following peer review. This article may not exactly replicate the final published version. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at


American Association for the Advancement of Science



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