A new universe of RNA-binding proteins

RNA biology is orchestrated by the interplay of RNAs with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) within dynamic ribonucleoproteins (RNPs). As a postdoctoral fellow in Matthias Hentze’s laboratory (EMBL), I developed a new method for comprehensive identification of RBPs in living cells, which we named “mRNA interactome capture” (Castello et al., Nat Prot., 2013). Applied to HeLa cells, this protocol revealed 860 high-confidence RBPs, adding hundreds of novel members to the previously known atlas of RBPs (Castello et al., Cell, 2012). The HeLa mRNA interactome uncovered unanticipated links between RNA biology and intermediary metabolism, the cellular redox state, antiviral response, and human diseases (Castello et al., Trends in genetics, 2013). I will apply new methods built on “mRNA interactome capture” to investigate the role of RBPs in infection and disease.