An application of RNA sequencing toward mRNA based nanotherapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 infections

Due to fast transmission and various circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, a significant increase of coronavirus 2019 infection cases with acute respiratory symptoms has prompted worries about the efficiency of current vaccines. The possible evasion from vaccine immunity urged scientists to identify novel therapeutic targets for developing improved vaccines to manage worldwide COVID-19 infections. This study sequenced pooled peripheral blood mononuclear cells transcriptomes of SARS-CoV-2 patients with moderate and critical clinical outcomes to identify novel potential host receptors and biomarkers that can assist in developing new translational nanomedicines and vaccine therapies. The dysregulated signatures were associated with humoral immune responses in moderate and critical patients, including B-cell activation, cell cycle perturbations, plasmablast antibody processing, adaptive immune responses, cytokinesis, and interleukin signaling pathway. The comparative and longitudinal analysis of moderate and critically infected groups elucidated diversity in regulatory pathways and biological processes. Several immunoglobin genes (IGLV9-49, IGHV7-4, IGHV3-64, IGHV1-24, IGKV1D-12, and IGKV2-29), ribosomal proteins (RPL29, RPL4P2, RPL5, and RPL14), inflammatory response related cytokines including Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF, TNFRSF17, and TNFRSF13B), C-C motif chemokine ligands (CCL3, CCL25, CCL4L2, CCL22, and CCL4), C-X-C motif chemokine ligands (CXCL2, CXCL10, and CXCL11) and genes related to cell cycle process and DNA proliferation (MYBL2, CDC20, KIFC1, and UHCL1) were significantly upregulated among SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. 60S Ribosomal protein L29 (RPL29) was a highly expressed gene among all COVID-19 infected groups. This study suggests that identifying differentially expressed genes (DEGs) based on disease severity and onset can be a powerful approach for identifying potential therapeutic targets to develop effective drug delivery systems against SARS-CoV-2 infections. As a result, potential therapeutic targets, such as the RPL29 protein, can be tested in vivo and in vitro to develop future mRNA-based translational nanomedicines and therapies to combat SARS-CoV-2 infections.

The schematic illustration of the pipeline adopted for the current study

The upper section of the figure illustrates the experimental design, isolation of PBMCs from the blood of COVID-19 patients, distribution of patients in each RNA pool, and sequencing method carried out for the current study. The lower section of the figure describes the data analysis pipeline, tools, and packages executed for this study.

Khalid Z, Huan M, Raza MS, Abbas M, Naz Z, Kombe AJK, Zeng W, He H, Jin T. (2022) Identification of Novel Therapeutic Candidates Against SARS-CoV-2 Infections: An Application of RNA Sequencing Toward mRNA Based Nanotherapeutics. Front Microbiol [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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