Blocking tombusvirus replication through the antiviral functions of DDX17-like RH30 DEAD-box helicase

Cheng Yu Wu, Peter D. Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Positive-stranded RNA viruses replicate inside cells and depend on many co-opted cellular factors to complete their infection cycles. To combat viruses, the hosts use conserved restriction factors, such as DEAD-box RNA helicases, which can function as viral RNA sensors or as effectors by blocking RNA virus replication. In this paper, we have established that the plant DDX17-like RH30 DEAD-box helicase conducts strong inhibitory function on tombusvirus replication when expressed in plants and yeast surrogate host. The helicase function of RH30 was required for restriction of tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) replication. Knock-down of RH30 levels in Nicotiana benthamiana led to increased TBSV accumulation and RH30 knockout lines of Arabidopsis supported higher level accumulation of turnip crinkle virus. We show that RH30 DEAD-box helicase interacts with p33 and p92pol replication proteins of TBSV, which facilitates targeting of RH30 from the nucleus to the large TBSV replication compartment consisting of aggregated peroxisomes. Enrichment of RH30 in the nucleus via fusion with a nuclear retention signal at the expense of the cytosolic pool of RH30 prevented the re-localization of RH30 into the replication compartment and canceled out the antiviral effect of RH30. In vitro replicase reconstitution assay was used to demonstrate that RH30 helicase blocks the assembly of viral replicase complex, the activation of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase function of p92pol and binding of p33 replication protein to critical cis-acting element in the TBSV RNA. Altogether, these results firmly establish that the plant DDX17-like RH30 DEAD-box helicase is a potent, effector-type, restriction factor of tombusviruses and related viruses. The discovery of the antiviral role of RH30 DEAD-box helicase illustrates the likely ancient roles of RNA helicases in plant innate immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007771
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wu, Nagy.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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