The mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS) protein on the mitochondrial outer membrane acts as a central signaling molecule in the RIG-I-like receptor (RLR) signaling pathway by linking upstream viral RNA recognition to downstream signal activation. We previously reported that mitochondrial E3 ubiquitin ligase, MARCH5, degrades the MAVS protein aggregate and prevents persistent downstream signaling. Since the activated RIG-I oligomer interacts and nucleates the MAVS aggregate, MARCH5 might also target this oligomer. Here, we report that MARCH5 targets and degrades RIG-I, but not its inactive phosphomimetic form (RIG-I(S8E)). The MARCH5-mediated reduction of RIG-I is restored in the presence of MG132, a proteasome inhibitor. Upon poly(I:C) stimulation, RIG-I forms an oligomer and co-expression of MARCH5 reduces the expression of this oligomer. The RING domain of MARCH5 is necessary for binding to the CARD domain of RIG-I. In an in vivo ubiquitination assay, MARCH5 transfers the Lys 48-linked polyubiquitin to Lys 193 and 203 residues of RIG-I. Thus, dual targeting of active RIG-I and MAVS protein oligomers by MARCH5 is an efficient way to switch-off RLR signaling. We propose that modulation of MARCH5 activity might be beneficial for the treatment of chronic immune diseases.
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