DEAD/H-Box Helicases in Immunity, Inflammation, Cell Differentiation, and Cell Death and Disease

Parimal Samir, Thirumala Devi Kanneganti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


DEAD/H-box proteins are the largest family of RNA helicases in mammalian genomes, and they are present in all kingdoms of life. Since their discovery in the late 1980s, DEAD/H-box family proteins have been a major focus of study. They have been found to play central roles in RNA metabolism, gene expression, signal transduction, programmed cell death, and the immune response to bacterial and viral infections. Aberrant functions of DEAD/H-box proteins have been implicated in a wide range of human diseases that include cancer, neurodegeneration, and inherited genetic disorders. In this review, we provide a historical context and discuss the molecular functions of DEAD/H-box proteins, highlighting the recent discoveries linking their dysregulation to human diseases. We will also discuss the state of knowledge regarding two specific DEAD/H-box proteins that have critical roles in immune responses and programmed cell death, DDX3X and DDX58, also known as RIG-I. Given their importance in homeostasis and disease, an improved understanding of DEAD/H-box protein biology and protein–protein interactions will be critical for informing strategies to counteract the pathogenesis associated with several human diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1608
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • DAMP
  • DDX3X
  • DEAD/H-box proteins
  • MAP kinase signaling
  • NLR
  • NLRP3
  • PAMP
  • PANoptosis
  • PRR
  • RIG-I
  • apoptosis
  • bacterial infection
  • caspase
  • chemotherapy
  • inflammasome
  • innate immunity
  • interferon signaling
  • necroptosis
  • programmed cell death
  • pyroptosis
  • stress granules
  • viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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