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Uncovering the Mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 Biosynthesis and Immune Evasion

Mitchell Guttman
Professor of Biology; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute

Professor Mitch Guttman and his team are experts in RNA biology and have developed numerous cutting-edge genomic and proteomic approaches for studying RNA interactions using Mass Spectrometry and high-throughput sequencing. Using these methods, Professor Guttman aims to uncover the host proteins and messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that interact with the SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The team will use this information to understand how the virus hijacks the host cell machinery to produce its critical proteins and evade host cell immune responses to replicate and propagate. One viral mechanism used to enable translation by the host cell is to hijack the 5'-cap structure of host mRNAs to trick the host cell machinery into recognizing and translating viral proteins. This "cap-snatching" mechanism has also been proposed as a mechanism for driving the selective downregulation of host mRNAs encoding critical immune proteins. Yet, the interactions between the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNAs and host mRNAs have not been explored and it is therefore unclear if this is a mechanism utilized by SARS-CoV-2. The team anticipates that knowledge gained in this project will advance scientists' ability to define new anti-viral therapeutic strategies that could be effective in targeting this virus.

Philanthropic goal: $150,000
Suggested minimum gift: $1,000

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For more information, please contact: Hazel Breen, Senior Director of Development