Proximity interactome analysis of Lassa polymerase reveals eRF3a/GSPT1 as a druggable target for host-directed antivirals

Jingru Fang, Colette Pietzsch, Haydar Witwit, George Tsaprailis, Gogce Crynen, Kelvin Frank Cho, Alice Y. Ting, Alexander Bukreyev, Erica Ollmann Saphire, Juan Carlos De la Torre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Completion of the Lassa virus (LASV) life cycle critically depends on the activities of the virally encoded, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase in replication and transcription of the viral RNA genome in the cytoplasm of infected cells. The contribution of cellular proteins to these processes remains unclear. Here, we applied proximity proteomics to define the interactome of LASV polymerase in cells under conditions that recreate LASV RNA synthesis. We engineered a LASV polymerase-biotin ligase (TurboID) fusion protein that retained polymerase activity and successfully biotinylated the proximal proteome, which allowed the identification of 42 high-confidence LASV polymerase interactors. We subsequently performed a small interfering RNA (siRNA) screen to identify those interactors that have functional roles in authentic LASV infection. As proof of principle, we characterized eukaryotic peptide chain release factor subunit 3a (eRF3a/GSPT1), which we found to be a proviral factor that physically associates with LASV polymerase. Targeted degradation of GSPT1 by a small-molecule drug candidate, CC-90009, resulted in strong inhibition of LASV infection in cultured cells. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of using proximity proteomics to illuminate and characterize yet-to-be-defined host-pathogen interactome, which can reveal new biology and uncover novel targets for the development of antivirals against highly pathogenic RNA viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2201208119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 26 2022


  • arenaviruses
  • host-directed antivirals
  • host-virus interactions
  • proximity proteomics
  • viral replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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