13 Apr 2021
RNA viruses cause a wide range of human diseases that are associated with high mortality and morbidity. In the past decades, the rise of genetic-based screening methods and high-throughput sequencing approaches allowed the uncovering of unique and elusive aspects of RNA virus replication and pathogenesis at an unprecedented scale. However, viruses often hijack critical host functions or trigger pathological dysfunctions, perturbing cellular proteostasis, macromolecular complex organization or stoichiometry, and post-translational modifications. Such effects require the monitoring of proteins and proteoforms both on a global scale and at the structural level. Mass spectrometry (MS) has recently emerged as an important component of the RNA virus biology toolbox, with its potential to shed light on critical aspects of virus-host perturbations and streamline the identification of antiviral targets. Moreover, multiple novel MS tools are available to study the structure of large protein complexes, providing detailed information on the exact stoichiometry of cellular and viral protein complexes and critical mechanistic insights into their functions. Here, we review top-down and bottom-up mass spectrometry-based approaches in RNA virus biology with a special focus on the most recent developments in characterizing host responses, and their translational implications to identify novel tractable antiviral targets.