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RNA is a central molecule in RNA virus biology, acting not only as a messenger of protein synthesis, but also as a genome. However, viruses encode a limited number of proteins able to interact with RNA and thus hijack cellular RNA-binding proteins to replicate and spread. In addition, the antiviral ‘arsenal’ of the host cells includes specialised RNA-binding proteins that recognise viral RNA and intermediaries of replication.
Therefore, cellular RNA-binding proteins are critical players in the virus-host cell battlefield. Unfortunately, the complement of cellular RNA-binding proteins that engage with viral RNA remains largely unknown.
In this webcast, the speakers will describe a recently developed approach, called viral RNA interactome capture (vRIC), to comprehensively discover the proteins that interact with viral RNA in infected cells with high specificity and depth. This method has revealed that viruses tend to interplay with a common set of cellular factors. To test if these cellular proteins are important for virus infection, the researchers then developed a high-throughput viral fitness assay to follow viral gene expression kinetics in near real time. They discovered that many of these cellular proteins play master regulatory roles in infection, opening a new dimension for antiviral intervention.
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