Identification of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 9 (PARP9) as a noncanonical sensor for RNA virus in dendritic cells

Junji Xing, Ao Zhang, Yong Du, Mingli Fang, Laurie J Minze, Yong-Jun Liu, Xian Chang Li, Zhiqiang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Innate immune cells are critical in protective immunity against viral infections, involved in sensing foreign viral nucleic acids. Here we report that the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 9 (PARP9), a member of PARP family, serves as a non-canonical sensor for RNA virus to initiate and amplify type I interferon (IFN) production. We find knockdown or deletion of PARP9 in human or mouse dendritic cells and macrophages inhibits type I IFN production in response to double strand RNA stimulation or RNA virus infection. Furthermore, mice deficient for PARP9 show enhanced susceptibility to infections with RNA viruses because of the impaired type I IFN production. Mechanistically, we show that PARP9 recognizes and binds viral RNA, with resultant recruitment and activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and AKT3 pathway, independent of mitochondrial antiviral-signaling (MAVS). PI3K/AKT3 then activates the IRF3 and IRF7 by phosphorylating IRF3 at Ser385 and IRF7 at Ser437/438 mediating type I IFN production. Together, we reveal a critical role for PARP9 as a non-canonical RNA sensor that depends on the PI3K/AKT3 pathway to produce type I IFN. These findings may have important clinical implications in controlling viral infections and viral-induced diseases by targeting PARP9.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2681
Pages (from-to)2681
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 11 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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