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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-332951

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has been characterized as one of the deadliest respiratory diseases, and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 caught the pharmaceutical industry and the drug development communities off guard. Identifying potential antiviral targets is of great concern, and one way to detect them is by analyzing metabolic changes in infected cells. In this study, we present a novel workflow to predict robust druggable targets against emerging RNA viruses using metabolic networks and information of the viral structure and its genome sequence. For this purpose, we implemented pymCADRE, a tool to create metabolic models using gene expression data, and used this to reconstruct a metabolic network of the human bronchial epithelial cells. We observed that pymCADRE reduces the computational time when flux variability analysis is employed for internal optimizations. Subsequently, we created a fully automated computational tool, named PREDICATE, which analyses one or more nucleotide sequences, introduces given amino acid mutations, and simulates in silico viral infections. Moreover, it predicts a set of host reactions, which, when constrained, inhibit the virus production while preserving the host’s optimal state. In the context of SARS-CoV-2, we applied this tool to our metabolic network of bronchial epithelial cells and identified enzymatic reactions with inhibitory effects. From the list of the reported targets, the most promising one was the Nucleoside Diphosphate Kinase, whose inhibitors have already been reported in the literature. Finally, we computationally tested the robustness of our targets in all currently known variants of concern, verifying the inhibitory effect of our target enzyme against SARS-CoV-2. Focusing on the metabolic fluxes of infected cells, we aim at applying our workflow and methods for rapid hypothesis-driven identification of potentially exploitable antivirals to efficiently prevent future pandemics concerning various viruses and host cell types. Availability: The pymCADRE tool and further scripts are publicly available at https://github.com/draeger-lab/ pymCADRE/.

2.
Preprints.org ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1786429

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has been characterized as one of the deadliest respiratory diseases, and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 caught the pharmaceutical industry and the drug development communities off guard. Identifying potential antiviral targets is of great concern, and one way to detect them is by analyzing metabolic changes in infected cells. In this study, we present a novel workflow to predict robust druggable targets against emerging RNA viruses using metabolic networks and information of the viral structure and its genome sequence. For this purpose, we implemented pymCADRE, a tool to create metabolic models using gene expression data, and used this to reconstruct a metabolic network of the human bronchial epithelial cells. We observed that pymCADRE reduces the computational time when flux variability analysis is employed for internal optimizations. Subsequently, we created a fully automated computational tool, named PREDICATE, which analyses one or more nucleotide sequences, introduces given amino acid mutations, and simulates in silico viral infections. Moreover, it predicts a set of host reactions, which, when constrained, inhibit the virus production while preserving the host's optimal state. In the context of SARS-CoV-2, we applied this tool to our metabolic network of bronchial epithelial cells and identified enzymatic reactions with inhibitory effects. From the list of the reported targets, the most promising one was the Nucleoside Diphosphate Kinase, whose inhibitors have already been reported in the literature. Finally, we computationally tested the robustness of our targets in all currently known variants of concern, verifying the inhibitory effect of our target enzyme against SARS-CoV-2. Focusing on the metabolic fluxes of infected cells, we aim at applying our workflow and methods for rapid hypothesis-driven identification of potentially exploitable antivirals to efficiently prevent future pandemics concerning various viruses and host cell types. Availability: The pymCADRE tool and further scripts are publicly available at https://github.com/draeger-lab/ pymCADRE/.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-319982

ABSTRACT

The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is still threatening humankind. Despite first successes in vaccine development and approval, no antiviral treatment is available for COVID-19 patients. The success is further tarnished by the emergence and spreading of mutation variants of SARS-CoV-2, for which some vaccines are not effective anymore. This highlights the urgent need for antiviral therapies even more. This article describes how the Genome-Scale Metabolic Model (GEM) of the host-virus interaction of human alveolar macrophages and SARS-CoV-2 was refined by incorporating the latest information about the virus’s structural proteins and the mutant variants B.1.1.7 and B.1.351. We confirmed the initially identified guanylate kinase as a potential antiviral target with this refined model and identified further potential targets from the purine and pyrimidine metabolism. The model was further extended by incorporating the virus’lipid requirements. This opened new perspectives for potential antiviral targets in the altered lipid metabolism. Especially the phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis seems to play a pivotal role in viral replication. The guanylate kinase is even a robust target in all investigated mutation variants currently spreading worldwide. These new insights can guide laboratory experiments for the validation of identified potential antiviral targets. Only the combination of vaccines and antiviral therapies will effectively defeat this ongoing pandemic.

5.
Mol Syst Biol ; 17(10): e10387, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1478718

ABSTRACT

We need to effectively combine the knowledge from surging literature with complex datasets to propose mechanistic models of SARS-CoV-2 infection, improving data interpretation and predicting key targets of intervention. Here, we describe a large-scale community effort to build an open access, interoperable and computable repository of COVID-19 molecular mechanisms. The COVID-19 Disease Map (C19DMap) is a graphical, interactive representation of disease-relevant molecular mechanisms linking many knowledge sources. Notably, it is a computational resource for graph-based analyses and disease modelling. To this end, we established a framework of tools, platforms and guidelines necessary for a multifaceted community of biocurators, domain experts, bioinformaticians and computational biologists. The diagrams of the C19DMap, curated from the literature, are integrated with relevant interaction and text mining databases. We demonstrate the application of network analysis and modelling approaches by concrete examples to highlight new testable hypotheses. This framework helps to find signatures of SARS-CoV-2 predisposition, treatment response or prioritisation of drug candidates. Such an approach may help deal with new waves of COVID-19 or similar pandemics in the long-term perspective.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Computational Biology/methods , Databases, Factual , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Software , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Computer Graphics , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Data Mining/statistics & numerical data , Gene Expression Regulation , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Host Microbial Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Cellular/drug effects , Immunity, Humoral/drug effects , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Lymphocytes/drug effects , Lymphocytes/immunology , Lymphocytes/virology , Metabolic Networks and Pathways/genetics , Metabolic Networks and Pathways/immunology , Myeloid Cells/drug effects , Myeloid Cells/immunology , Myeloid Cells/virology , Protein Interaction Mapping , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction , Transcription Factors/genetics , Transcription Factors/immunology , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/immunology
6.
Genes (Basel) ; 12(6)2021 05 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1243973

ABSTRACT

The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is still threatening humankind. Despite first successes in vaccine development and approval, no antiviral treatment is available for COVID-19 patients. The success is further tarnished by the emergence and spreading of mutation variants of SARS-CoV-2, for which some vaccines have lower efficacy. This highlights the urgent need for antiviral therapies even more. This article describes how the genome-scale metabolic model (GEM) of the host-virus interaction of human alveolar macrophages and SARS-CoV-2 was refined by incorporating the latest information about the virus's structural proteins and the mutant variants B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.28, B.1.427/B.1.429, and B.1.617. We confirmed the initially identified guanylate kinase as a potential antiviral target with this refined model and identified further potential targets from the purine and pyrimidine metabolism. The model was further extended by incorporating the virus' lipid requirements. This opened new perspectives for potential antiviral targets in the altered lipid metabolism. Especially the phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis seems to play a pivotal role in viral replication. The guanylate kinase is even a robust target in all investigated mutation variants currently spreading worldwide. These new insights can guide laboratory experiments for the validation of identified potential antiviral targets. Only the combination of vaccines and antiviral therapies will effectively defeat this ongoing pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Energy Metabolism , Genome, Viral , Guanylate Kinases/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/genetics , Gene Knockdown Techniques , Humans , Lipid Metabolism , Macrophages/immunology , Macrophages/metabolism , Macrophages/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Load , Virus Replication
7.
Bioinformatics ; 36(Suppl 2): i813-i821, 2020 12 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1003511

ABSTRACT

MOTIVATION: The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) currently spreads worldwide, causing the disease COVID-19. The number of infections increases daily, without any approved antiviral therapy. The recently released viral nucleotide sequence enables the identification of therapeutic targets, e.g. by analyzing integrated human-virus metabolic models. Investigations of changed metabolic processes after virus infections and the effect of knock-outs on the host and the virus can reveal new potential targets. RESULTS: We generated an integrated host-virus genome-scale metabolic model of human alveolar macrophages and SARS-CoV-2. Analyses of stoichiometric and metabolic changes between uninfected and infected host cells using flux balance analysis (FBA) highlighted the different requirements of host and virus. Consequently, alterations in the metabolism can have different effects on host and virus, leading to potential antiviral targets. One of these potential targets is guanylate kinase (GK1). In FBA analyses, the knock-out of the GK1 decreased the growth of the virus to zero, while not affecting the host. As GK1 inhibitors are described in the literature, its potential therapeutic effect for SARS-CoV-2 infections needs to be verified in in-vitro experiments. AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: The computational model is accessible at https://identifiers.org/biomodels.db/MODEL2003020001.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Guanylate Kinases , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Immunity ; 53(6): 1296-1314.e9, 2020 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-965599

ABSTRACT

Temporal resolution of cellular features associated with a severe COVID-19 disease trajectory is needed for understanding skewed immune responses and defining predictors of outcome. Here, we performed a longitudinal multi-omics study using a two-center cohort of 14 patients. We analyzed the bulk transcriptome, bulk DNA methylome, and single-cell transcriptome (>358,000 cells, including BCR profiles) of peripheral blood samples harvested from up to 5 time points. Validation was performed in two independent cohorts of COVID-19 patients. Severe COVID-19 was characterized by an increase of proliferating, metabolically hyperactive plasmablasts. Coinciding with critical illness, we also identified an expansion of interferon-activated circulating megakaryocytes and increased erythropoiesis with features of hypoxic signaling. Megakaryocyte- and erythroid-cell-derived co-expression modules were predictive of fatal disease outcome. The study demonstrates broad cellular effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection beyond adaptive immune cells and provides an entry point toward developing biomarkers and targeted treatments of patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Erythroid Cells/pathology , Megakaryocytes/physiology , Plasma Cells/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers , Blood Circulation , COVID-19/immunology , Cells, Cultured , Cohort Studies , Disease Progression , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Proteomics , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Severity of Illness Index , Single-Cell Analysis
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