Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Science, University of Wisconsin Madison, Biochemistry (2009)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, STMRM-PHD (2018)


All Publications

  • Profiling of rotavirus 3UTR-binding proteins reveals the ATP synthase subunit ATP5B as a host factor that supports late-stage virus replication JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Ren, L., Ding, S., Song, Y., Li, B., Ramanathan, M., Co, J., Amieva, M. R., Khavari, P. A., Greenberg, H. B. 2019; 294 (15): 5993–6006
  • Methods to study RNA-protein interactions (vol 16, pg 225, 2019) NATURE METHODS Ramanathan, M., Porter, D. F., Khavari, P. A. 2019; 16 (4): 351
  • Author Correction: Methods to study RNA-protein interactions. Nature methods Ramanathan, M., Porter, D. F., Khavari, P. A. 2019


    In the version of this paper originally published, three references were accidentally omitted: Schwartz, J. C. et al. Cell Rep. 5, 918-925 (2013); Tundup, S. et al. FEBS Lett. 580, 1285-1293 (2006); and Itri, F. et al. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 492, 67-73 (2017). The PDF and HTML versions of the paper now include these as references 58, 59, and 60, respectively, and subsequent references have been renumbered accordingly.

    View details for PubMedID 30850752

  • Methods to study RNA-protein interactions. Nature methods Ramanathan, M., Porter, D. F., Khavari, P. A. 2019; 16 (3): 225–34


    Noncoding RNA sequences, including long noncoding RNAs, small nucleolar RNAs, and untranslated mRNA regions, accomplish many of their diverse functions through direct interactions with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Recent efforts have identified hundreds of new RBPs that lack known RNA-binding domains, thus underscoring the complexity and diversity of RNA-protein complexes. Recent progress has expanded the number of methods for studying RNA-protein interactions in two general categories: approaches that characterize proteins bound to an RNA of interest (RNA-centric), and those that examine RNAs bound to a protein of interest (protein-centric). Each method has unique strengths and limitations, which makes it important to select optimal approaches for the biological question being addressed. Here we review methods for the study of RNA-protein interactions, with a focus on their suitability for specific applications.

    View details for PubMedID 30804549

  • Profiling of rotavirus 3'UTR-binding proteins reveals the ATP synthase subunit ATP5B as a host factor that supports late-stage virus replication. The Journal of biological chemistry Ren, L., Ding, S., Song, Y., Li, B., Ramanathan, M., Co, J., Amieva, M. R., Khavari, P. A., Greenberg, H. B. 2019


    Genome replication and virion assembly of segmented RNA viruses are highly coordinated events, tightly regulated by sequence and structural elements in the UTRs of viral RNA. This process is poorly defined and likely requires the participation of host proteins in concert with viral proteins. In this study, we employed a proteomics-based approach, named RNA-protein interaction detection (RaPID), to comprehensively screen for host proteins that bind to a conserved motif within the rotavirus (RV) 3' terminus. Using this assay, we identified ATP5B, a core subunit of the mitochondrial ATP synthase, as having high affinity to the RV 3'UTR consensus sequences. During RV infection, ATP5B bound to the RV 3'UTR and co-localized with viral RNA and viroplasm. Functionally, siRNA-mediated genetic depletion of ATP5B or other ATP synthase subunits such as ATP5A1 and ATP5O reduced the production of infectious viral progeny without significant alteration of intracellular viral RNA levels or RNA translation. Chemical inhibition of ATP synthase diminished RV yield in both conventional cell culture and in human intestinal enteroids, indicating that ATP5B positively regulates late-stage RV maturation in primary intestinal epithelial cells. Collectively, our results shed light on the role of host proteins in RV genome assembly and particle formation and identify ATP5B as a novel pro-RV RNA-binding protein, contributing to our understanding of how host ATP synthases may galvanize virus growth and pathogenesis.

    View details for PubMedID 30770472

  • Impact of a patient-derived hepatitis C viral RNA genome with a mutated microRNA binding site. PLoS pathogens Mata, M., Neben, S., Majzoub, K., Carette, J., Ramanathan, M., Khavari, P. A., Sarnow, P. 2019; 15 (5): e1007467


    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) depends on liver-specific microRNA miR-122 for efficient viral RNA amplification in liver cells. This microRNA interacts with two different conserved sites at the very 5' end of the viral RNA, enhancing miR-122 stability and promoting replication of the viral RNA. Treatment of HCV patients with oligonucleotides that sequester mir-122 resulted in profound loss of viral RNA in phase II clinical trials. However, some patients accumulated in their sera a viral RNA genome that contained a single cytidine to uridine mutation at the third nucleotide from the 5' genomic end. It is shown here that this C3U variant indeed displayed higher rates of replication than that of wild-type HCV when miR-122 abundance is low in liver cells. However, when miR-122 abundance is high, binding of miR-122 to site 1, most proximal to the 5' end in the C3U variant RNA, is impaired without disrupting the binding of miR-122 to site 2. As a result, C3U RNA displays a much lower rate of replication than wild-type mRNA when miR-122 abundance is high in the liver. This phenotype was accompanied by binding of a different set of cellular proteins to the 5' end of the C3U RNA genome. In particular, binding of RNA helicase DDX6 was important for displaying the C3U RNA replication phenotype in liver cells. These findings suggest that sequestration of miR-122 leads to a resistance-associated mutation that has only been observed in treated patients so far, and raises the question about the function of the C3U variant in the peripheral blood.

    View details for PubMedID 31075158

  • RNA-protein interaction detection in living cells. Nature methods Ramanathan, M., Majzoub, K., Rao, D. S., Neela, P. H., Zarnegar, B. J., Mondal, S., Roth, J. G., Gai, H., Kovalski, J. R., Siprashvili, Z., Palmer, T. D., Carette, J. E., Khavari, P. A. 2018


    RNA-protein interactions play numerous roles in cellular function and disease. Here we describe RNA-protein interaction detection (RaPID), which uses proximity-dependent protein labeling, based on the BirA* biotin ligase, to rapidly identify the proteins that bind RNA sequences of interest in living cells. RaPID displays utility in multiple applications, including in evaluating protein binding to mutant RNA motifs in human genetic disorders, in uncovering potential post-transcriptional networks in breast cancer, and in discovering essential host proteins that interact with Zika virus RNA. To improve the BirA*-labeling component of RaPID, moreover, a new mutant BirA* was engineered from Bacillus subtilis, termed BASU, that enables >1,000-fold faster kinetics and >30-fold increased signal-to-noise ratio over the prior standard Escherichia coli BirA*, thereby enabling direct study of RNA-protein interactions in living cells on a timescale as short as 1 min.

    View details for PubMedID 29400715