Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nature. 2008 Jan 31;451(7178):573-7. doi: 10.1038/nature06501. Epub 2008 Jan 16.

NLRX1 is a regulator of mitochondrial antiviral immunity.

Author information

  • 1Department of Microbiology-Immunology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


The RIG-like helicase (RLH) family of intracellular receptors detect viral nucleic acid and signal through the mitochondrial antiviral signalling adaptor MAVS (also known as Cardif, VISA and IPS-1) during a viral infection. MAVS activation leads to the rapid production of antiviral cytokines, including type 1 interferons. Although MAVS is vital to antiviral immunity, its regulation from within the mitochondria remains unknown. Here we describe human NLRX1, a highly conserved nucleotide-binding domain (NBD)- and leucine-rich-repeat (LRR)-containing family member (known as NLR) that localizes to the mitochondrial outer membrane and interacts with MAVS. Expression of NLRX1 results in the potent inhibition of RLH- and MAVS-mediated interferon-beta promoter activity and in the disruption of virus-induced RLH-MAVS interactions. Depletion of NLRX1 with small interference RNA promotes virus-induced type I interferon production and decreases viral replication. This work identifies NLRX1 as a check against mitochondrial antiviral responses and represents an intersection of three ancient cellular processes: NLR signalling, intracellular virus detection and the use of mitochondria as a platform for anti-pathogen signalling. This represents a conceptual advance, in that NLRX1 is a modulator of pathogen-associated molecular pattern receptors rather than a receptor, and identifies a key therapeutic target for enhancing antiviral responses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk