Investigating tRNA Fragments Predicted to Bind SARS-CoV-2

illustration of coronavirus rna structure

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a great need to understand the biological mechanisms required for the regulation of corona viruses. Noncoding RNAs have been implicated in many aspects of viral infection, although they are largely unstudied in the corona viruses.

Noncoding RNAs from the host have been shown to increase during certain viral infections and may stabilize the viral genome. tRNA fragments (tRFs) are a type of noncoding RNA associated with some viral infections.

Led by Lynne Bemis, PhD, professor of biomedical sciences, this study will assess if one or more tRFs binds and regulates SARS-CoV-2.

“New exploration of the binding of tRFs to SARS-CoV-2 will lead to new understanding of the RNA regulatory mechanisms, ultimately leading to new therapeutic interventions targeting SARS-CoV-2,” said Bemis.

This project is supported by the UMN Campus Public Health Officer's CO:VID (Collaborative Outcomes: Visionary Innovation & Discovery) grants program, which support University of Minnesota faculty to catalyze and energize small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the COVID-19 virus and its associated risks.