The DExD/H-box helicase Dicer-2 mediates the induction of antiviral activity in drosophila

Nat Immunol. 2008 Dec;9(12):1425-32. doi: 10.1038/ni.1664. Epub 2008 Oct 26.


Drosophila, like other invertebrates and plants, relies mainly on RNA interference for its defense against viruses. In flies, viral infection also triggers the expression of many genes. One of the genes induced, Vago, encodes a 18-kilodalton cysteine-rich polypeptide. Here we provide genetic evidence that the Vago gene product controlled viral load in the fat body after infection with drosophila C virus. Induction of Vago was dependent on the helicase Dicer-2. Dicer-2 belongs to the same DExD/H-box helicase family as do the RIG-I-like receptors, which sense viral infection and mediate interferon induction in mammals. We propose that this family represents an evolutionary conserved set of sensors that detect viral nucleic acids and direct antiviral responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Drosophila / immunology*
  • Drosophila / virology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / immunology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fat Body / immunology
  • Fat Body / virology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA Helicases / genetics
  • RNA Helicases / immunology*
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Ribonuclease III
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Virus Diseases / immunology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • DCR-2 protein, Drosophila
  • Ribonuclease III
  • RNA Helicases