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

Image credit: Cancer Research Communications


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 IFN-inducible ADAR1-p150 suppresses dsRNA sensing, an essential function for adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 1 (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.

Cancer Research Communications
Kyle A. Cottrell
Kyle A. Cottrell
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry