The caspase recruitment domain (CARD) of intracellular adaptors and sensors plays a critical role in the assembly of signaling complexes involved in innate host defense against pathogens and in the regulation of inflammatory responses. The cytosolic receptor retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) recognizes viral RNA in a 5'-triphosphate-dependent manner and initiates an antiviral signaling cascade. Upon viral infection, the N-terminal CARDs of RIG-I undergo the K(63)-linked ubiquitination induced by tripartite motif protein 25 (TRIM25), critical for the interaction of RIG-I with its downstream signaling partner MAVS/VISA/IPS-1/Cardif. Here, we demonstrate the distinct roles of RIG-I first and second CARD in TRIM25-mediated RIG-I ubiquitination: TRIM25 binds the RIG-I first CARD and subsequently ubiquitinates its second CARD. The T(55)I mutation in RIG-I first CARD abolishes TRIM25 interaction, whereas the K(172)R mutation in the second CARD eliminates polyubiquitin attachment. The necessity of the intact tandem CARD for RIG-I function is further evidenced by a RIG-I splice variant (SV) whose expression is robustly up-regulated upon viral infection. The RIG-I SV carries a short deletion (amino acids 36-80) within the first CARD and thereby loses TRIM25 binding, CARD ubiquitination, and downstream signaling ability. Furthermore, because of its robust inhibition of virus-induced RIG-I multimerization and RIG-I-MAVS signaling complex formation, this SV effectively suppresses the RIG-I-mediated IFN-beta production. This study not only elucidates the vital role of the intact tandem CARD for TRIM25-mediated RIG-I activation but also identifies the RIG-I SV as an off-switch regulator of its own signaling pathway.