Viral and cellular RNA-binding proteins regulate numerous key steps in the replication of diverse virus genera. Viruses efficiently co-opt the host cell machinery for purposes such as transcription, splicing and subcellular localization of viral genomes. Though viral RNAs often need to resemble cellular RNAs to effectively utilize the cellular machinery, they still retain unique sequence and structural features for recognition by viral proteins for processes such as RNA polymerization, RNA export and selective packaging into virus particles. While beneficial for virus replication, distinct features of viral nucleic acids can also be recognized as foreign by several host defense proteins. Development of the crosslinking immunoprecipitation coupled with sequencing (CLIP) approach has allowed the study of viral and cellular RNA binding proteins that regulate critical aspects of viral replication in unprecedented detail. By combining immunoprecipitation of covalently crosslinked protein-RNA complexes with high-throughput sequencing, CLIP provides a global account of RNA sequences bound by RNA-binding proteins of interest in physiological settings and at near-nucleotide resolution. Here, we describe the step-by-step application of the CLIP methodology within the context of two cellular splicing regulatory proteins, hnRNP A1 and hnRNP H1 that regulate HIV-1 splicing. In principle, this versatile protocol can be applied to many other viral and cellular RNA-binding proteins.
- Protein-RNA interactions
- RNA-binding proteins