Finding Genius Podcast
How to Impede the Coronavirus in Cellular Machinery: Frederic Bards Shares His Research
May 11, 2020 · 39 min
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Researcher Frederic Bard has studied coronaviruses' step-by-step entry and replication inside cells. He explains to listeners which stages are the most promising for interference.  Along the way, he describes

  • The parasitic nature and structure of virus binding and replicating mechanisms,
  • How the ph of the endosome enables viruses to enter the cytosol where the viruses' RNA replicates, and 
  • The promising identification of the VCP spike protein that the virus binds with and efforts to inhibit it.

Frederic Bard is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore and is part of the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology with the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A Star) in Singapore. He explains to listeners about the importance of host genes for coronavirus replication. He reminds us that viruses are parasites and need the machinery of a cell to replicate—he has researched different proteins and machines inside the cell that help the structure of viruses to replicate: if we can understand that, he says, maybe we can block replication.

He describes the two moments that show the most promise for disturbing this process, namely when viruses bind with spike proteins on the outside of the cell and when they enter the cytosol for the viruses' RNA replication. A few years ago, he published work identifying the VCP protein that coronaviruses bind with and is now researching the possibility of inhibiting that protein without hurting the cell. That is part of the challenge, he explains—to make the cell a little bit sick to inhibit the virus replication but not enough to damage the cell and health of the person. Along the way, he explains cell mechanisms in response to viruses, how the structure of virus works with the endosomes and cytosol.

For more, see his lab websites with links to his publications and contact information: https://www.a-star.edu.sg/imcb/science/scientific-programmes/multi-modal-molecular-(m3)-biology  and https://bch.nus.edu.sg/fredericbard.htm.

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