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BMC Bioinformatics ; 22(1): 287, 2021 May 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1257920


BACKGROUND: Representing biological networks as graphs is a powerful approach to reveal underlying patterns, signatures, and critical components from high-throughput biomolecular data. However, graphs do not natively capture the multi-way relationships present among genes and proteins in biological systems. Hypergraphs are generalizations of graphs that naturally model multi-way relationships and have shown promise in modeling systems such as protein complexes and metabolic reactions. In this paper we seek to understand how hypergraphs can more faithfully identify, and potentially predict, important genes based on complex relationships inferred from genomic expression data sets. RESULTS: We compiled a novel data set of transcriptional host response to pathogenic viral infections and formulated relationships between genes as a hypergraph where hyperedges represent significantly perturbed genes, and vertices represent individual biological samples with specific experimental conditions. We find that hypergraph betweenness centrality is a superior method for identification of genes important to viral response when compared with graph centrality. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate the utility of using hypergraphs to represent complex biological systems and highlight central important responses in common to a variety of highly pathogenic viruses.

Algorithms , Models, Biological , Genomics , Proteins
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(27)2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276013


The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays a key role in viral infectivity. It is also the major antigen stimulating the host's protective immune response, specifically, the production of neutralizing antibodies. Recently, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 possessing multiple mutations in the S protein, designated P.1, emerged in Brazil. Here, we characterized a P.1 variant isolated in Japan by using Syrian hamsters, a well-established small animal model for the study of SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19). In hamsters, the variant showed replicative abilities and pathogenicity similar to those of early and contemporary strains (i.e., SARS-CoV-2 bearing aspartic acid [D] or glycine [G] at position 614 of the S protein). Sera and/or plasma from convalescent patients and BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccinees showed comparable neutralization titers across the P.1 variant, S-614D, and S-614G strains. In contrast, the S-614D and S-614G strains were less well recognized than the P.1 variant by serum from a P.1-infected patient. Prior infection with S-614D or S-614G strains efficiently prevented the replication of the P.1 variant in the lower respiratory tract of hamsters upon reinfection. In addition, passive transfer of neutralizing antibodies to hamsters infected with the P.1 variant or the S-614G strain led to reduced virus replication in the lower respiratory tract. However, the effect was less pronounced against the P.1 variant than the S-614G strain. These findings suggest that the P.1 variant may be somewhat antigenically different from the early and contemporary strains of SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/pathology , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Lung/pathology , Mesocricetus , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , X-Ray Microtomography