Frick, David



BA, Franklin & Marshall College
PhD, Johns Hopkins University
Postdoctoral, Harvard Medical School


Research Area

My lab mainly studies the biochemistry of viral proteins and small molecules that interact with them in order to discover new antiviral drugs. Our main interest, presently, is in targeting helicases encoded by:

  • The hepatitis C virus (HCV)
  • Dengue virus (DENV)
  • West Nile Virus
  • SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19)

Helicases are motor proteins that separate DNA and RNA duplexes and dislodge proteins bound to nucleic acids in reactions fueled by ATP hydrolysis. We also study helicases from human cells, and other viral proteins as drug targets including polymerases, proteases and capsid proteins. The goal of most projects in the lab is either to understand how these proteins help copy viral genomes or to understand how small molecule drugs block virus growth by directly interfering with these important enzymes.

NS3 fluorescent inhibitor

A molecular model of a fluorescent NS3 helicase inhibitor bound to the protein overlaid on a picture of human cells infected with HCV. The human cells also contain the helicase inhibitor, which is visualized in the cytoplasm using fluorescence microscopy

Techniques used in our lab:

    • Recombinant DNA technology
    • Protein purification
    • Enzymology
    • Steady state and transient state kinetics
    • Tissue Culture
    • Fluorescence Microscopy
    • Quantitative RT-PCR
    • High throughput screening
    • Absorbance spectroscopy
    • Fluorescence spectroscopy
    • TR-FRET, alpha-screen and FP assays
    • Biocalorimetry
    • Molecular Modeling

Selected Publications

Virdi, R S., Bavisotto, R V., Hopper, N C., Vuksanovic, N, Melkonian, T R., Silvaggi, Nicholas R., and Frick, David N.“Discovery of Drug-Like Ligands for the Mac1 Domain of SARS-CoV-2 Nsp3” SLAS discovery : advancing life sciences R & D25.10 (2020): 1162-1170.
Frick, David N., Virdi, R S., Vuksanovic, N, Dahal, N, and Silvaggi, Nicholas R.“Molecular Basis for ADP-Ribose Binding to the Mac1 Domain of SARS-CoV-2 nsp3” Biochemistry59.28 (2020): 2608-2615.
Corby, M J., Stoneman, M R., Biener, G, Paprocki, J D., Kolli, R, Raicu, Valerica, and Frick, David N.“Quantitative microspectroscopic imaging reveals viral and cellular RNA helicase interactions in live cells” The Journal of biological chemistry292.27 (2017): 11165-11177.
Bassetto, M, Ferla, S, Leyssen, P, Neyts, J, Yerukhimovich, M M., Frick, David N., O'Donnell, R, and Brancale, A. “Novel symmetrical phenylenediamines as potential anti-hepatitis C virus agents” Antiviral chemistry & chemotherapy(2016).
Bassetto, M, Leyssen, P, Neyts, J, Yerukhimovich, M M., Frick, David N., Courtney-Smith, M, and Brancale, A. “In silico identification, design and synthesis of novel piperazine-based antiviral agents targeting the hepatitis C virus helicase” European journal of medicinal chemistry125. (2016): 1115-1131.
Kaushik-Basu, N, Ratmanova, N K., Manvar, D, Belov, D S., Cevik, O, Basu, A, Yerukhimovich, M M., Lukyanenko, E R., Andreev, I A., Belov, G M., Manfroni, G, Cecchetti, V, Frick, David N., Kurkin, A V., Altieri, A, and Barreca, M L.“Bicyclic octahydrocyclohepta[b]pyrrol-4(1H)one derivatives as novel selective anti-hepatitis C virus agents” European journal of medicinal chemistry122. (2016): 319-25.
Sweeney, Noreena L., Alicia, Hanson M., Mukherjee, Sourav, Ndjomou, Jean, Geiss, Brian J., Steel, John J., Li, Kelin, Frankowski, Kevin J., Schoenen, Frank J., and Frick, David N.“Benzothiazole and Pyrrolone Flavivirus Inhibitors Targeting the Viral Helicase” ACS Infect. Dis1. (2015): 140-148.
Provazzi, P J., Mukherjee, S, Hanson, A M., Nogueira, M L., Carneiro, B M., Frick, David N., and Rahal, P. “Analysis of the Enzymatic Activity of an NS3 Helicase Genotype 3a Variant Sequence Obtained from a Relapse Patient” PloS one10.12 (2015): e0144638.
Ndjomou, Jean, Corby, M. J., Sweeney, Noreena L., Hanson, Alicia M., Aydin, Cihan, Ali, Akbar, Schiffer, Celia A., Li, Kelin, Frankowski, Kevin J., Schoenen, Frank J., and Frick, David N.“Simultaneously Targeting the NS3 Protease And Helicase Activities For More Effective Hepatitis C Virus Therapy” ACS Chem. Biol10. (2015).
Andreev, Ivan A., Manvar, Dinesh, Barreca, Maria Letizia L., Belov, Dmitry S., Basu, Amartya, Sweeney, Noreena L., Ratmanova, Nina R., Lukyanenko, Evgeny R., Manfroni, Giuseppe, Cecchetti, Violetta, Frick, David N., Altieri, Andrea, Kaushik-Basu, Neerja, and Kurkin, Alexander V.“Discovery of the 2-phenyl-4,5,6,7-Tetrahydro-1H-indole as a novel anti-hepatitis C virus targeting scaffold” European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry96. (2015): 250-8.
Mukherjee, Sourav, Weiner, Warren S., Schroeder, Chad E., Simpson, Denise S., Hanson, Alicia M., Sweeney, Noreena L., Marvin, Rachel K., Ndjomou, Jean, Kolli, Rajesh, Isailovic, Dragan, Schoenen, Frank J., and Frick, David N.“Ebselen Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Helicase Binding to Nucleic Acid and Prevents Viral Replication” ACS Chemical Biology9. (2014): 2393-2403.
Aydin, Cihan, Mukherjee, Sourav, Hanson, Alicia M., Frick, David N., and Schiffer, Celia A.“The interdomain interface in bifunctional enzyme protein 3/4A (NS3/4A) regulates protease and helicase activities” Protein Science22. (2013): 1786-98.
Sweeney, Noreena L., Shadrick, William W., Mukherjee, Sourav, Li, Kelin, Frankowski, Kevin J., Schoenen, Frank J., and Frick, David N.“Primuline Derivatives That Mimic RNA To Stimulate Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Helicase-Catalyzed ATP Hydrolysis” J. Biol. Chem288. (2013): 19949-19957.
Shadrick, William R., Mukherjee, Sourav, Hanson, Alicia M., Sweeney, Noreena L., and Frick, David N.“Aurintricarboxylic Acid Modulates the Affinity of Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Helicase for Both Nucleic Acid and ATP” Biochemistry52 (36). (2013): 6151–6159.
Mannan, M. Amin-ul , Shadrick, William R., Biener, Gabriel, Anshu, Ashish, Raicu, Valerica, Frick, David N., and Dey, Madhusudan. “An Ire1-Phk1 Chimera Reveals a Dispensable Role of Autokinase Activity in Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Response” J. Mol. Biol425. (2013): 2083-99.