RIG-I/DDX58 plays a key role in host innate immunity. However, its therapeutic potential for inflammation-related cancers remains to be explored. Here we identify frameshift germline mutations of RIG-I occurring in patients with colon cancer. Accordingly, Rig-ifs/fs mice bearing a frameshift mutant Rig-i exhibit increased susceptibility to colitis-related colon cancer as well as enhanced inflammatory response to chemical, virus or bacteria. In addition to interruption of Rig-i mRNA translation, the Rig-i mutation changes the secondary structure of Rig-i pre-mRNA and impairs its association with DHX9, consequently inducing a circular RNA generation from Rig-i transcript, thereby, designated as circRIG-I. CircRIG-I is frequently upregulated in colon cancers and its upregulation predicts poor outcome of colon cancer. Mechanistically, circRIG-I interacts with DDX3X, which in turn stimulates MAVS/TRAF5/TBK1 signaling cascade, eventually activating IRF3-mediated type I IFN transcription and aggravating inflammatory damage. Reciprocally, all-trans retinoic acid acts as a DHX9 agonist, ameliorates immunopathology through suppression of circRIG-I biogenesis. Collectively, our results provide insight into mutant RIG-I action and propose a potential strategy for the treatment of colon cancer.
© 2022. The Author(s).