Background: Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) for double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) are components of innate immunity that recognize the presence of viral infection and initiate efficient defense mechanisms. In addition to previously well-characterized signaling pathways that are mediated by PKR and TLR3, new intracellular dsRNA sensors, that are members of CARD and DExD/H box helicase family, have been identified. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the signaling pathways mediated by these new dsRNA sensors have not been extensively characterized.
Results: Here, we studied an intracellular dsRNA pathway in the human fibrosarcoma cell line HT1080, which is distinct from the TLR3-mediated extracellular dsRNA pathway. Particularly, the NF-kB subunits RELA and RELB were differentially utilized by these two dsRNA signaling pathways. In TLR3-mediated dsRNA signaling, siRNA knock-down studies suggested a limited role for RELA on regulation of interferon beta and other cytokines whereas RELB appeared to have a negative regulatory role. By contrast, intracellular dsRNA signaling was dependent on RELA, but not RELB.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that extracellular and intracellular dsRNA signaling pathways may utilize different NF-kB members, and particularly the differential utilization of RELB may be a key mechanism for powerful inductions of NF-kB regulated genes in the intracellular dsRNA signaling pathway.