Title : Viral RNA structures as regulators of gene expression and therapeutic targets
RNA viruses are a highly diverse and abundant group of pathogens responsible for a wide range of human ailments, from the common cold to serious and even fatal diseases, such as AIDS, SARS, and Ebola. Despite their relatively compact genomes, RNA viruses have evolved a variety of mechanisms to maximize their coding capacity, including alternative splicing and ribosomal frameshifting. These mechanisms involve the folding of RNA into three-dimensional structures that enable the recruitment of ribosomes without initiation factors and the hijacking of host proteins. In addition, these structures can cause ribosomes to frameshift, and expose or occlude regulatory protein binding motifs, thereby controlling key processes in the viral life cycle. I will discuss new methods developed in my lab to measure alternative RNA structures in cells and our latest findings on unconventional mechanisms of gene expression in coronaviruses.
Audience take away:
- Methods to determine the RNA structure of viruses in cells
- Advance RNA research
- Improve design of RNA therapeutic