Grouper DDX41 exerts antiviral activity against fish iridovirus and nodavirus infection.


College of Marine Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 510642, China. Electronic address: [Email]


DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp)-box polypeptide 41 (DDX41) is a member of the DEXDc family of helicases, that has recently been identified to be a crucial intracellular DNA sensor that triggers multiple signaling molecules to activate the type I interferon response. However, the precise function of DDX41 in fish during a viral infection remains unknown. In the present study, the DDX41 homolog from orange spotted grouper, Epinephelus coioides (EcDDX41), was cloned and its potential role in the immune response to a fish viral infection were investigated. EcDDX41 encodes a putative protein of 614 amino acid residues that contained two conserved domains: 1) DEADc domain; and 2) HELICc domain. The sequence analysis indicated that EcDDX41 shared 99%, 94%, and 86% identity with Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer), zebrafish (Danio rerio), and humans (Homo sapiens), respectively. EcDDX41 mRNA was present in all of the detected tissues, with the highest level of expression in the gills. The level of EcDDX41 expression was up-regulated following infection with Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV) or red-spotted grouper nervous necrosis virus (RGNNV) in grouper spleen (GS) cell cultures, suggesting that EcDDX41 may be involved in fish virus infection. Furthermore, EcDDX41 overexpression in GS cells significantly inhibited SGIV and RGNNV replication. EcDDX41 overexpression significantly increased the expression of antiviral and inflammatory cytokine genes, including interferon regulatory factor genes (e.g., IRF1, IRF2, IRF3, and IRF7), interferon induced genes (e.g., ISG15, ISG56, IFP35, Viperin, and MXI), and pro-inflammatory cytokine genes (e.g., TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-8). Moreover, EcDDX41 positively regulated the mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS) and TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1)-induced interferon immune response, but did mediate IRF3 activation (MITA) to evoke an interferon immune response in unstimulated cells. Together, our results provide novel insight into the role of fish DDX41 in the antiviral innate immune response.


DDX41,Grouper,Iridovirus,MAVS,Nervous necrosis virus,TBK1,