The recent pandemic of COVID-19 due to infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has created an urgent need to understand the biological mechanisms of pathogenesis of this new disease. The SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus with a slightly less than 30 kilobases (kb) long RNA genome that encodes 26 proteins that interact with several hundred human proteins and initiate a number of pathogenic steps. Here we use the genetic model Drosophila melanogaster to understand gene and protein function involved in COVID-19. We will generate a library of UAS-cDNA constructs and transgenic flies to express and functionally assess the viral proteins. We will also generate transgenic flies for over 300 genes in the human genome involved in viral replication and COVID-19 disease. We will generate Drosophila reagents for the Drosophila homologs of these human genes using a unique drop-in technology and we will update the online hub for the dissemination of these resources to Drosophila labs throughout the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic disease is caused by a new coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 which has 26 protein coding genes. In this project, researchers will study each of these genes by expressing them in fruit flies and assessing the consequences of their expression. They will create the tools to study over 300 human genes that have been shown to bind to the viral proteins and hence may be involved in COVID-19.
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