© 2018 The Author(s). Ion channels are well placed to transduce environmental cues into signals used by cells to generate a wide range of responses, but little is known about their role in the regulation of RNA metabolism. Here we show that the TRPV4 cation channel binds the DEAD-box RNA helicase DDX3X and regulates its function. TRPV4-mediated Ca2+ influx releases DDX3X from the channel and drives DDX3X nuclear translocation, a process that involves calmodulin (CaM) and the CaM-dependent kinase II. Genetic depletion or pharmacological inhibition of TRPV4 diminishes DDX3X-dependent functions, including nuclear viral export and translation. Furthermore, TRPV4 mediates Ca2+ influx and nuclear accumulation of DDX3X in cells exposed to the Zika virus or the purified viral envelope protein. Consequently, targeting of TRPV4 reduces infectivity of dengue, hepatitis C and Zika viruses. Together, our results highlight the role of TRPV4 in the regulation of DDX3X-dependent control of RNA metabolism and viral infectivity.