Background: Recognition of viral nucleic acids is one of the primary triggers for a type I interferon-mediated antiviral immune response. Inborn errors of type I interferon immunity can be associated with increased inflammation and/or increased susceptibility to viral infections as a result of dysbalanced interferon production. NFX1-type zinc finger-containing 1 (ZNFX1) is an interferon-stimulated double-stranded RNA sensor that restricts the replication of RNA viruses in mice. The role of ZNFX1 in the human immune response is not known.
Objective: We studied 15 patients from 8 families with an autosomal recessive immunodeficiency characterized by severe infections by both RNA and DNA viruses and virally triggered inflammatory episodes with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis-like disease, early-onset seizures, and renal and lung disease.
Methods: Whole exome sequencing was performed on 13 patients from 8 families. We investigated the transcriptome, posttranscriptional regulation of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) and predisposition to viral infections in primary cells from patients and controls stimulated with synthetic double-stranded nucleic acids.
Results: Deleterious homozygous and compound heterozygous ZNFX1 variants were identified in all 13 patients. Stimulation of patient-derived primary cells with synthetic double-stranded nucleic acids was associated with a deregulated pattern of expression of ISGs and alterations in the half-life of the mRNA of ISGs and also associated with poorer clearance of viral infections by monocytes.
Conclusion: ZNFX1 is an important regulator of the response to double-stranded nucleic acids stimuli following viral infections. ZNFX1 deficiency predisposes to severe viral infections and a multisystem inflammatory disease.
Keywords: HLH-like disease; ZNFX1; brain calcification; interstitial lung disease; leukoencephalopathy; susceptibility to viral infections; thrombotic microangiopathy; type I interferon; virally induced hepatitis.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.