The RNA Sensor RIG-I Dually Functions as an Innate Sensor and Direct Antiviral Factor for Hepatitis B Virus

Seiichi Sato, Kai Li, Takeshi Kameyama, Takaya Hayashi, Yuji Ishida, Shuko Murakami, Tsunamasa Watanabe, Sayuki Iijima, Yu Sakurai, Koichi Watashi, Susumu Tsutsumi, Yusuke Sato, Hidetaka Akita, Takaji Wakita, Charles M. Rice, Hideyoshi Harashima, Michinori Kohara, Yasuhito Tanaka, Akinori Takaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

284 Citations (Scopus)


Host innate recognition triggers key immune responses for viral elimination. The sensing mechanism of hepatitis B virus (HBV), a DNA virus, and the subsequent downstream signaling events remain to be fully clarified. Here we found that type III but nottype I interferons are predominantly induced in human primary hepatocytes in response to HBV infection, through retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I)-mediated sensing of the 5'-ε region of HBV pregenomic RNA. In addition, RIG-I could also counteract the interaction of HBV polymerase (P protein) with the 5'-ε region in an RNA-binding dependent manner, which consistently suppressed viral replication. Liposome-mediated delivery and vector-based expression of this ε region-derived RNA in liver abolished the HBV replication in human hepatocyte-chimeric mice. These findings identify an innate-recognition mechanism by which RIG-I dually functions as an HBV sensor activating innate signaling and to counteract viral polymerase in human hepatocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 20
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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