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  • The RNA helicase DHX16 recognizes specific viral RNA to trigger RIG-I-dependent innate antiviral immunity.

The RNA helicase DHX16 recognizes specific viral RNA to trigger RIG-I-dependent innate antiviral immunity.

Cell reports (2022-03-10)
Adam Hage, Preeti Bharaj, Sarah van Tol, Maria I Giraldo, Maria Gonzalez-Orozco, Karl M Valerdi, Abbey N Warren, Leopoldo Aguilera-Aguirre, Xuping Xie, Steven G Widen, Hong M Moulton, Benhur Lee, Jeffrey R Johnson, Nevan J Krogan, Adolfo García-Sastre, Pei-Yong Shi, Alexander N Freiberg, Ricardo Rajsbaum
ABSTRACT

Type I interferons (IFN-I) are essential to establish antiviral innate immunity. Unanchored (or free) polyubiquitin (poly-Ub) has been shown to regulate IFN-I responses. However, few unanchored poly-Ub interactors are known. To identify factors regulated by unanchored poly-Ub in a physiological setting, we developed an approach to isolate unanchored poly-Ub from lung tissue. We identified the RNA helicase DHX16 as a potential pattern recognition receptor (PRR). Silencing of DHX16 in cells and in vivo diminished IFN-I responses against influenza virus. These effects extended to members of other virus families, including Zika and SARS-CoV-2. DHX16-dependent IFN-I production requires RIG-I and unanchored K48-poly-Ub synthesized by the E3-Ub ligase TRIM6. DHX16 recognizes a signal in influenza RNA segments that undergo splicing and requires its RNA helicase motif for direct, high-affinity interactions with specific viral RNAs. Our study establishes DHX16 as a PRR that partners with RIG-I for optimal activation of antiviral immunity requiring unanchored poly-Ub.

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