A plant-derived nucleic acid reconciles Type i IFN and a pyroptotic-like event in immunity against respiratory viruses

Dacquin M. Kasumba, Takara Hajake, Seong Wook Oh, Sergei V. Kotenko, Hiroki Kato, Takashi Fujita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Nucleic acids carrying pathogen-associated molecular patterns trigger innate immune responses and are used to activate host immunity. Although synthetic nucleic acids have been used for that purpose, they have shown limitations for in vivo and clinical applications. To address this issue, we tested a naturally occurring dsRNA extracted from rice bran (rb-dsRNA) and characterized it as a potent ligand of TLR3 and MDA5. In this study, intranasal administration of rb-dsRNA induced production of type I IFNs by alveolar macrophages and protected mice from morbidity and mortality resulting from respiratory virus infection, such as influenza A virus. This protection was completely absent in mice lacking both TRIF and MDA5, indicating the essential role of TLR3- and MDA5-dependent pathways. Interestingly, IFNAR1-deficient mice retained residual antiviral protection, which was abolished by pharmacological inhibition of caspase 1, but not IL-1b signaling. In fact, rb-dsRNA activated caspase 1 via TRIF, resulting in the release of IL-1b and LDH. In addition to the direct antiviral activity, rb-dsRNA modulated the immune cell population in the lungs by repopulating virus-depleted alveolar macrophages. Our data demonstrate that rb-dsRNA orchestrates IFN-dependent and -independent direct antiviral protection and that it is a potent immune stimulator modulating antiviral immunity in the lungs. These findings open doors to a range of precise immune-modulating studies and therapeutic options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2460-2474
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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