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Negative-strand RNA viruses are considered one of the most dreaded virus groups due to their high mutation rate and a broad spectrum of infectivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of developing new antiviral drugs against this class of human pathogens. Virally encoded nucleocapsid protein (N), phosphoprotein (P), and positive sense leader RNA play vital roles in the life cycle of negative-strand RNA viruses. Chandipura virus (CHPV), a prototype member of the Rhabdoviridae family, has been responsible for several epidemics across the Indian subcontinent. Previous research has shown that the binding of N and P proteins to the positive sense leader RNA is crucial for the transcription and replication of CHPV.
In this presentation Dr Prasenjit Chakraborty and Professor Siddhartha Roy describe their research on the identification of structural motifs in viral N and P proteins, which are essential for their interactions with the positive sense leader RNA. They then go on to demonstrate that certain peptides can be shown to specifically inhibit the growth of CHPV in infected cells and a minigenome system. This class of antiviral peptides could therefore be seen to be a good lead for developing small-molecule inhibitors targeted against human viruses belonging to the Mononegavirale group.
This presentation was part of the Andor Virology Virtual Conference March 2021.
Date: May 2021
Author: Dr Prasenjit Chakraborty and Professor Siddhartha Roy