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Genome Res ; 32(2): 228-241, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642462


The pathogenesis of COVID-19 is still elusive, which impedes disease progression prediction, differential diagnosis, and targeted therapy. Plasma cell-free RNAs (cfRNAs) carry unique information from human tissue and thus could point to resourceful solutions for pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions. Here, we performed a comparative analysis of cfRNA profiles between COVID-19 patients and healthy donors using serial plasma. Analyses of the cfRNA landscape, potential gene regulatory mechanisms, dynamic changes in tRNA pools upon infection, and microbial communities were performed. A total of 380 cfRNA molecules were up-regulated in all COVID-19 patients, of which seven could serve as potential biomarkers (AUC > 0.85) with great sensitivity and specificity. Antiviral (NFKB1A, IFITM3, and IFI27) and neutrophil activation (S100A8, CD68, and CD63)-related genes exhibited decreased expression levels during treatment in COVID-19 patients, which is in accordance with the dynamically enhanced inflammatory response in COVID-19 patients. Noncoding RNAs, including some microRNAs (let 7 family) and long noncoding RNAs (GJA9-MYCBP) targeting interleukin (IL6/IL6R), were differentially expressed between COVID-19 patients and healthy donors, which accounts for the potential core mechanism of cytokine storm syndromes; the tRNA pools change significantly between the COVID-19 and healthy group, leading to the accumulation of SARS-CoV-2 biased codons, which facilitate SARS-CoV-2 replication. Finally, several pneumonia-related microorganisms were detected in the plasma of COVID-19 patients, raising the possibility of simultaneously monitoring immune response regulation and microbial communities using cfRNA analysis. This study fills the knowledge gap in the plasma cfRNA landscape of COVID-19 patients and offers insight into the potential mechanisms of cfRNAs to explain COVID-19 pathogenesis.

COVID-19 , Cell-Free Nucleic Acids , RNA/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/genetics , Cell-Free Nucleic Acids/blood , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4543, 2021 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1328844


The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global health emergency. Various omics results have been reported for COVID-19, but the molecular hallmarks of COVID-19, especially in those patients without comorbidities, have not been fully investigated. Here we collect blood samples from 231 COVID-19 patients, prefiltered to exclude those with selected comorbidities, yet with symptoms ranging from asymptomatic to critically ill. Using integrative analysis of genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic and lipidomic profiles, we report a trans-omics landscape for COVID-19. Our analyses find neutrophils heterogeneity between asymptomatic and critically ill patients. Meanwhile, neutrophils over-activation, arginine depletion and tryptophan metabolites accumulation correlate with T cell dysfunction in critical patients. Our multi-omics data and characterization of peripheral blood from COVID-19 patients may thus help provide clues regarding pathophysiology of and potential therapeutic strategies for COVID-19.

COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Critical Illness , Genomics/methods , Humans , Lipidomics/methods , Metabolomics/methods , Neutrophils/metabolism , Transcriptome/genetics
Intensive Care Med Exp ; 9(1): 13, 2021 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133613


PURPOSE: Critically ill COVID-19 patients have significantly increased risk of death. Although several circulating biomarkers are thought to be related to COVID-19 severity, few studies have focused on the characteristics of critically ill patients with different outcomes. The objective of this study was to perform a longitudinal investigation of the potential mechanisms affecting the prognosis of critically ill COVID-19 patients. METHODS: In addition to clinical data, 113 whole blood samples and 85 serum samples were collected from 33 severe and critical COVID-19 patients without selected comorbidities. Multi-omics analysis was then performed using longitudinal samples. RESULTS: Obvious transcriptional transitions were more frequent in critical survivors than in critical non-survivors, indicating that phase transition may be related to survival. Based on analysis of differentially expressed genes during transition, the erythrocyte differentiation pathway was significantly enriched. Furthermore, clinical data indicated that red blood cell counts showed greater fluctuation in survivors than in non-survivors. Moreover, declining red blood cell counts and hemoglobin levels were validated as prognostic markers of poor outcome in an independent cohort of 114 critical COVID-19 patients. Protein-metabolite-lipid network analysis indicated that tryptophan metabolism and melatonin may contribute to molecular transitions in critical COVID-19 patients with different outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: This study systematically and comprehensively depicted the longitudinal hallmarks of critical COVID-19 patients and indicated that multi-omics transition may impact the prognosis. TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Frequent transcriptional phase transitions may contribute to outcome in critically ill COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, fluctuation in red blood cell and hemoglobin levels may relate to poor prognosis. The biological function of melatonin was suppressed in COVID-19 non-survivors, which may provide a potential theoretical basis for clinical administration.