RNA-Protein Interactions at the Host-Viral Interface

Our research is centred on the study of host-virus interactions, particularly focusing on SARS-CoV-2 and interactions with cellular RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), and how these influence viral adaptation and host range.

RNA-Protein Interactions

We are using state-of-the-art technologies to profile direct RNA-protein interactions at nucleotide resolution. Our approach relies on cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) of the RNA-binding protein of interest, followed by library preparation and high-throughput sequencing of the co-precipitated RNA.

Our in-house developed protocol greatly streamlines library preparation and allows the sensitive and efficient profiling of RNA-protein interactions from low input samples. Check out our latest preprint for more details!

Viral Evolution

Host RBPs play a fundamental role in the viral life cycle and can have either promoting or inhibiting effects on viral replication.

We are profiling a large number of host-viral RNA-protein interactions at different stages of the viral life cycle to identify both the specific host factors as well as viral sequences that mediate these interactions to regulate specific aspects of viral replication.

We combine this information with publicly available data from the global surveillance efforts to investigate the evolutionary consequences of these interactions and determine the amount of selective pressure that is conferred by host RBPs on their specific binding sites within the viral genome.

Host Adaptation

Viruses are dependent on their hosts and undergo substantial adaptation to successfully co-opt and reprogram the cellular machinery for efficient viral replication.

The identification of RBPs as necessary host factors opens an opportunity for comparative analysis between different host species to explore their role as species-specific determinants of viral host range in the context of zoonotic transmissions.

This research is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.