RIG-I (retinoid acid-inducible gene-I), a putative RNA helicase with a cytoplasmic caspase-recruitment domain (CARD), was identified as a pattern-recognition receptor (PRR) that mediates antiviral immunity by inducing type I interferon production. To further study the biological function of RIG-I, we generated Rig-I(-/-) mice through homologous recombination, taking a different strategy to the previously reported strategy. Our Rig-I(-/-) mice are viable and fertile. Histological analysis shows that Rig-I(-/-) mice develop a colitis-like phenotype and increased susceptibility to dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis. Accordingly, the size and number of Peyer's patches dramatically decreased in mutant mice. The peripheral T-cell subsets in mutant mice are characterized by an increase in effector T cells and a decrease in naive T cells, indicating an important role for Rig-I in the regulation of T-cell activation. It was further found that Rig-I deficiency leads to the downregulation of G protein alpha i2 subunit (G alpha i2) in various tissues, including T and B lymphocytes. By contrast, upregulation of Rig-I in NB4 cells that are treated with ATRA is accompanied by elevated G alpha i2 expression. Moreover, G alpha i2 promoter activity is increased in co-transfected NIH3T3 cells in a Rig-I dose-dependent manner. All these findings suggest that Rig-I has crucial roles in the regulation of G alpha i2 expression and T-cell activation. The development of colitis may be, at least in part, associated with downregulation of G alpha i2 and disturbed T-cell homeostasis.