Flynn RA, Belk JA, Qi Y, Yasumoto Y, Wei J, Alfajaro MM, Shi Q, Mumbach MR, Limaye A, DeWeirdt PC, Schmitz CO, Parker KR, Woo E, Chang HY, Horvath TL, Carette JE, Bertozzi CR, Wilen CB, Satpathy AT.
Cell, 11 March 2021

SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of a pandemic with growing global mortality. Using comprehensive identification of RNA-binding proteins by mass spectrometry (ChIRP-MS), we identified 309 host proteins that bind the SARS-CoV-2 RNA during active infection. Integration of this data with ChIRP-MS data from three other RNA viruses defined viral specificity of RNA-host protein interactions. Targeted CRISPR screens revealed that the majority of functional RNA-binding proteins protect the host from virus-induced cell death, and comparative CRISPR screens across seven RNA viruses revealed shared and SARS-specific antiviral factors. Finally, by combining the RNA-centric approach and functional CRISPR screens, we demonstrated a physical and functional connection between SARS-CoV-2 and mitochondria, highlighting this organelle as a general platform for antiviral activity. Altogether, these data provide a comprehensive catalog of functional SARS-CoV-2 RNA-host protein interactions, which may inform studies to understand the host-virus interface and nominate host pathways that could be targeted for therapeutic benefit.