Daniele Fabris

  • Daniele Fabris


    Dr. Fabris’s research group focuses on the investigation of structure-function relationships in viral ribonucleproteins involved in infectious diseases. Molecular biology and biophysical approaches are combined with cutting-edge mass spectrometric (MS) techniques to elucidate the mechanism and structure determinants of essential protein-RNA interactions. The insights afforded by these novel approaches can provide new perspective on long standing questions. An example consists of the 5’-untranslated region (5’- UTR) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), which has eluded structural elucidation by virtue of its large size and unwieldy flexibility. In order to obtain the insights necessary to support the discovery of new antivirals, my group has developed alternative approaches that combine structural probes with high-resolution MS to obtain detailed information on its structural organization and global topology. The implementation of ad hoc computational approaches enables the translation of probing constraints into full-fledged 3D structures. Taking advantage of the ability to accomplish probing experiments in vivo, we are now investigating the structure of 5’-UTR in virions and infected cells. We are also developing new strategies utilizing high-resolution MS to determine the effects of small molecule ligands and antisense oligonucleotides on RNA structure, with the goal of undermining the stability of 5’-UTR and its ability to interact with host and viral factors.