As an intracellular pattern recognition receptor (PRR), the retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) is responsible for the recognition of cytosolic viral nucleic acids and the production of type I interferons (IFNs). In the present study, an insertion variant of RIG-I with 38 amino acids inserted in the N-terminal CARD2 domain, as well as the typical type, named as RIG-Ia and RIG-Ib respectively were identified in zebrafish. RIG-la and RIG-Ib were all up-regulated following the infection of a negative ssRNA virus, the Spring Viremia of Carp Virus (SVCV), and an intracellular Gram-negative bacterial pathogen Edwardsiella tarda, indicating the RLR may have a role in the recognition of both viruses and bacteria. The overexpression of RIG-Ib in cultured fish cells resulted in significant increase in type I IFN promoter activity, and in protection against SVCV infection, whereas the over-expression of RIG-Ia had no direct effect on IFN activation nor antiviral response. Furthermore, it was revealed that both RIG-Ia and RIG-Ib were associated with the downstream molecular mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein, MAVS, and interestingly RIG-Ia when co-transfected with RIG-Ib or MAVS, induced a significantly higher level of type IFN promoter activity and the expression level of Mx and IRF7, implying that the RIG-la may function as an enhancer in the RIG-Ib/MAVS-mediated signaling pathway. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.