Understanding Critical Virus-Host Interactions During the Life Cycle of SARS Coronavirus-2

illustration of proteins

Coronavirus (CoV) carries a single-stranded RNA genome that is replicated and transcribed with the help of host factors. Whereas a complete copy of the genomic RNA is needed for replication, smaller “subgenomic” transcripts give rise to specific, virally encoded proteins. The most abundant subgenomic transcript encodes for the nucleocapsid (N-) protein, which is essential for the production of new viral particles.

Led by Anja Bielinsky, PhD, professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics, this study will determine how the host enzyme DDX1 physically interacts with the N-protein.

“Blocking the interaction between N-protein and DDX1 will be useful for the development of therapeutic agents that disrupt the life cycle of CoV,” said Bielinsky.

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.