Defective RNA sensing by RIG-I in severe influenza virus infection

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Influenza virus infection causes worldwide seasonal epidemics. Although influenza is usually a mild disease, a minority of patients experience very severe fulminating disease courses. Previous studies have demonstrated a role for type I interferon (IFN) in anti-viral responses during influenza. So far, however, IFN regulatory factor (IRF)7 deficiency is the only genetic cause of severe influenza described in humans. In this study we present a patient with severe influenza A virus (IAV) H1N1 infection during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. By whole exome sequencing we identified two variants, p.R71H and p.P885S, located in the caspase activation and recruitment domain (CARD) and RNA binding domains, respectively, of DExD/H-box helicase 58 (DDX58) encoding the RNA sensor retinoic acid inducible gene 1 (RIG-I). These variants significantly impair the signalling activity of RIG-I. Similarly, patient cells demonstrate decreased antiviral responses to RIG-I ligands as well as increased proinflammatory responses to IAV, suggesting dysregulation of the innate immune response with increased immunopathology. We suggest that these RIG-I variants may have contributed to severe influenza in this patient and advocate that RIG-I variants should be sought in future studies of genetic factors influencing single-stranded RNA virus infections.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Volume192
Issue3
Pages (from-to)366-376
Number of pages11
ISSN0009-9104
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • RIG-I, influenza, innate immunity, interferon

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