Microbes (viruses, bacteria etc) and their hosts (complex multicellular organisms) co-exist for millions of years. This co-evolution led to the development of intimate interactions between both parties. Such interactions may be essential for the pathogen to replicate (e.g. recruitment of host factors) or for the host to limit spread of the pathogen (e.g. proteins of the innate immune system). Some pathogenic microorganisms, however, can evade the immune system and accellerate disease. Our group is interested in understanding the interactions between pathogenic viruses and their hosts on molecular and functional levels, focusing on RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions.
We identified Nudix hydrolase 2 (NUDT2) as one key player to clear cells from viral triphosphorylated RNA (PPP-RNA).
We used conservation of binding properties over evolution to identify proteins that are relevant for innate immunity.
We helped our collaborators from the Hartmann and Imler labs find two cGAS-like receptors that regulate antiviral immunity in flies!
Scientific community can use these deep and comprehensive data to understand COVID-19 molecular mechanisms.