Viral infection is a multistep process involving complex interplay between viral life cycle and host immunity. One defense mechanism that hosts use to protect cells against the virus are nucleic-acid-mediated surveillance systems, such as RNA interference-driven gene silencing and CRISPR-Cas mediated gene editing. Another important stage for host cells to combat virus replication is translational regulation, which is particular important for the life cycle of RNA viruses, such as Hepatitis C virus and Coronavirus. While efforts to characterize structural features of viral RNA have led to a better understanding of translational regulation, no systematical approaches to identify important host genes for controlling viral translation have been developed and little is known about how to regulate host-virus translational interaction to prevent and treat infections caused by RNA viruses.
UC Berkeley researchers have developed a high-throughput platform using CRISPR-based target interrogation to identify new therapeutics targets or repurposed drug targets for blocking viral RNA translation. The new kits can also be used to identify important domains within target proteins that are required for regulating (viral RNA translation) and can inform drug design and development for treating RNA viruses.
RNA virus, drug discovery, Coronaviruses