Elucidation of remdesivir cytotoxicity pathways through genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screening and transcriptomics

Presented at: CRISPR 2020
C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
Speaker
  • Laboratory of Dr. Richard Sherwood Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School
    Biography

      Minja Velimirovic is a PhD candidate working in laboratory of Dr Richard Sherwood Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She joined the team there in January of this year, after spending prior year doing translational research with the special emphasis on the implementation of genome editing technologies for therapeutic purposes, at University of Laval in Quebec. Minja's research focuses on utilizing a suite of novel high-throughput genomic perturbation platforms, CRISPR-based genome editing and single cell RNA-sequencing.


    Abstract

    The adenosine analogue remdesivir has emerged as a front-line antiviral treatment for SARS-CoV-2, with preliminary evidence that it reduces the duration and severity of illness. Prior clinical studies have identified adverse events, and remdesivir has been shown to inhibit mitochondrial RNA polymerase in biochemical experiments, yet little is known about the specific genetic pathways involved in cellular remdesivir metabolism and cytotoxicity. Through genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screening and RNA sequencing, we show that remdesivir treatment leads to a repression of mitochondrial respiratory activity, and we identify five genes whose loss significantly reduces remdesivir cytotoxicity. In particular, we show that loss of the mitochondrial nucleoside transporter SLC29A3 mitigates remdesivir toxicity without a commensurate decrease in SARS-CoV-2 antiviral potency and that the mitochondrial adenylate kinase AK2 is a remdesivir kinase required for remdesivir efficacy and toxicity. This work elucidates the cellular mechanisms of remdesivir metabolism and provides a candidate gene target to reduce remdesivir cytotoxicity.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Learn about the use of CRISPR-Cas9 system for high-throughput analysis

    2. Explain mechanism of action of remdesivir and what is important for it's metabolism

    3. Discover how to use CRISPR genome wide screens and RNA sequencing to interpret cellular mechanisms of drug metabolism


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