Mutant RIG-I enhances cancer-related inflammation through activation of circRIG-I signaling

Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 19;13(1):7096. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-34885-3.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / genetics
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases* / metabolism
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Mice
  • Signal Transduction


  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases