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Nucleic acid sensing is a central process in the immune system, with far-reaching roles in antiviral defense, autoinflammation, and cancer. Z-DNA binding protein 1 (ZBP1) is a sensor for double-stranded DNA and RNA helices in the unusual left-handed Z conformation termed Z-DNA and Z-RNA. Recent research established ZBP1 as a key upstream regulator of cell death and proinflammatory signaling. Recognition of Z-DNA/RNA by ZBP1 promotes host resistance to viral infection but can also drive detrimental autoinflammation. Additionally, ZBP1 has interesting roles in cancer and other disease settings and is emerging as an attractive target for therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Med

Publication Date





Nucleic Acids, RNA-Binding Proteins, DNA, Z-Form, Cell Death, RNA