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The RNA helicase RIG-I has an essential function in double-stranded RNA-induced innate antiviral responses.

Yoneyama M., Kikuchi M., Natsukawa T., Shinobu N., Imaizumi T., Miyagishi M., Taira K., Akira S., Fujita T.

Intracellular double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a chief sign of replication for many viruses. Host mechanisms detect the dsRNA and initiate antiviral responses. In this report, we identify retinoic acid inducible gene I (RIG-I), which encodes a DExD/H box RNA helicase that contains a caspase recruitment domain, as an essential regulator for dsRNA-induced signaling, as assessed by functional screening and assays. A helicase domain with intact ATPase activity was responsible for the dsRNA-mediated signaling. The caspase recruitment domain transmitted 'downstream' signals, resulting in the activation of transcription factors NF-kappaB and IRF-3. Subsequent gene activation by these factors induced antiviral functions, including type I interferon production. Thus, RIG-I is key in the detection and subsequent eradication of the replicating viral genomes.

Nat. Immunol. 5:730-737(2004) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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