Induction of viral mimicry upon loss of DHX9 and ADAR1 in breast cancer cells

Image credit: bioRxiv


Detection of viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is an important component of innate immunity. However, many endogenous RNAs containing double-stranded regions can be misrecognized and activate innate immunity. The interferon inducible ADAR1-p150 suppresses dsRNA sensing, an essential function for ADAR1 in many cancers, including breast. Although ADAR1-p150 has been well established in this role, the functions of the constitutively expressed ADAR1-p110 isoform are less understood. We used proximity labeling to identify putative ADAR1-p110 interacting proteins in breast cancer cell lines. Of the proteins identified, the RNA helicase DHX9 was of particular interest. Knockdown of DHX9 in ADAR1-dependent cell lines caused cell death and activation of the dsRNA sensor PKR. In ADAR1-independent cell lines, combined knockdown of DHX9 and ADAR1, but neither alone, caused activation of multiple dsRNA sensing pathways leading to a viral mimicry phenotype. Together, these results reveal an important role for DHX9 in suppressing dsRNA sensing by multiple pathways.

Kyle A. Cottrell
Kyle A. Cottrell
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry