Chicken DNA virus sensor DDX41 activates IFN-β signaling pathway dependent on STING

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The recognition of pathogenic DNA is important to the initiation of antiviral responses. Here, we report the identification of the first avian DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp) box polypeptide 41 (DDX41), an important DNA sensor, in chicken cells. In our study, we confirmed that chDDX41 is not an interferon-inducible gene. Knockdown of chDDX41 expression by shRNA blocked the ability of DF-1 cells to mount an IFN-β response to DNA and associated viruses. ChDDX41 mRNAs could be upregulated by double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) analogue poly(dA:dT), but not by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) analogue poly(I:C). In poly(dA:dT) stimulation assays, the immune molecules involved in the DDX41-mediated IFN-β pathway in human cells were universally upregulated in chicken cells. Via coimmunoprecipitation (Co-IP) experiments, we found that chDDX41 could strongly interact with chicken stimulator of IFN genes (chSTING). Therefore, our results suggest that chDDX41 is involved in the dsDNA- and dsDNA virus-mediated chDDX41-chSTING-IFN-β signaling pathway in chicken cells.

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