The RNA helicase DDX3X is an essential mediator of innate antimicrobial immunity

by Daniel Szappanos, Roland Tschismarov, Thomas Perlot, Sandra Westermayer, Katrin Fischer, Ekaterini Platanitis, Fabian Kallinger, Maria Novatchkova, Caroline Lassnig, Mathias Müller, Veronika Sexl, Keiryn L. Bennett, Michelle Foong-Sobis, Josef M. Penninger, Thomas Decker

DExD/H box RNA helicases, such as the RIG-I-like receptors (RLR), are important components of the innate immune system. Here we demonstrate a pivotal and sex-specific role for the heterosomal isoforms of the DEAD box RNA helicase DDX3 in the immune system. Mice lacking DDX3X during hematopoiesis showed an altered leukocyte composition in bone marrow and spleen and a striking inability to combat infection with Listeria monocytogenes. Alterations in innate immune responses resulted from decreased effector cell availability and function as well as a sex-dependent impairment of cytokine synthesis. Thus, our data provide further in vivo evidence for an essential contribution of a non-RLR DExD/H RNA helicase to innate immunity and suggest they may contribute to sex-related differences in resistance to microbes and resilience to inflammatory disease.

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