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Discovery of Widespread Host Protein Interactions with the Pre-replicated Genome of CHIKV Using VIR-CLASP


Kim B , Arcos S , Rothamel K , Jian J , Rose KL , McDonald WH , Bian Y , Reasoner S , Barrows NJ , Bradrick S , Garcia-Blanco MA , Ascano M , . Molecular cell. 2020 05 06; 78(4). 624-640.e7


The primary interactions between incoming viral RNA genomes and host proteins are crucial to infection and immunity. Until now, the ability to study these events was lacking. We developed viral cross-linking and solid-phase purification (VIR-CLASP) to characterize the earliest interactions between viral RNA and cellular proteins. We investigated the infection of human cells using Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and influenza A virus and identified hundreds of direct RNA-protein interactions. Here, we explore the biological impact of three protein classes that bind CHIKV RNA within minutes of infection. We find CHIKV RNA binds and hijacks the lipid-modifying enzyme fatty acid synthase (FASN) for pro-viral activity. We show that CHIKV genomes are N-methyladenosine modified, and YTHDF1 binds and suppresses CHIKV replication. Finally, we find that the innate immune DNA sensor IFI16 associates with CHIKV RNA, reducing viral replication and maturation. Our findings have direct applicability to the investigation of potentially all RNA viruses.