Research GroupsMarchanka Group
Research - Application

STRUCTURAL AND FUNCTIONAL STUDIES OF VIRAL AND BACTERIAL RNAS

We are investigating disease-related viral and bacterial RNAs by solution-state and solid-state NMR and complementary biophysical techniques (SAXS, SANS, EPR) to obtain valuable structural and functional information on the RNA molecule. High-resolution solid-state NMR data allows zoom-in on the relevant interaction interface, while low resolution data (SAXS, SANS, EPR) provides with overal molecular shape. Acquired structural data coupled with the information obtained from functional assays will contribute to the development of new effective drugs.

One of important research directions in our group is characterization of interplay between microRNA miR-122 und 5' untranslated region (UTR)  in hepatitis C virus.  miR-122 is an abundant liver-specific miRNA and its impact on HCV has been characterized to high extent. While the modus operandi of many microRNAs is that of downregulating translation and enhancing mRNA decay, mir-122 promotes translation and replication of HCV. miR-122 binds at two tandem sites at the 5’-end of HCV RNA and leads to significant changes in the structure of the HCV RNA. Despite the application of several methods to characterize the interaction of mir-122 with the HCV RNA, precise structural information and the exact mechanism of action are still lacking. Here we combine NMR/EPR data, low resolution techniques (SAXS, SANS) and functional assays to obtain clear picture of microRNA-viral RNA interaction