DHX15 Is a Coreceptor for RLR Signaling That Promotes Antiviral Defense Against RNA Virus Infection

J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2019 Jun;39(6):331-346. doi: 10.1089/jir.2018.0163. Epub 2019 May 15.


RNA helicases play an important role in the response to microbial infection. Retinoic acid inducible gene-I (RIG-I) and members of the RIG-I-like receptor (RLR) family of helicases function as cytoplasmic pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) whose actions are essential for recognition of RNA viruses. RIG-I association with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) within viral RNA leads to its activation and signaling via the mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS) adapter protein. This interaction mediates downstream signaling events that drive the innate immune response to virus infection. Here we identify the DEAH-box RNA helicase DHX15 as a RLR binding partner and signaling cofactor. In human cells, DHX15 is required for virus-induced RLR signaling of innate immune gene expression. Knockdown of DHX15 increased susceptibility to infection by RNA viruses of diverse genera, including Paramyxoviridae, Rhabdoviridae, and Picornaviridae. DHX15 associates with RIG-I caspase activation and recruitment domains (CARDs) through its amino terminus, in which the complex is recruited to MAVS on virus infection. Importantly, although DHX15 cannot substitute for RIG-I in innate immune signaling, DHX15 selectively binds PAMP RNA to promote RIG-I ATP hydrolysis and signaling activation in response to viral RNA. Our results define DHX15 as a coreceptor required for RLR innate immune responses to control RNA virus infection.

Keywords: DHX15; MAVS; MDA5; RIG-I; RNA virus; innate immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • RNA Helicases / immunology*
  • RNA Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / immunology*
  • Sendai virus / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • DHX15 protein, human
  • RNA Helicases