Comparative transcriptome analyses reveal genes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lung epithelial cells

Academic Article


  • During 2020, understanding the molecular mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection (the cause of COVID-19) became a scientific priority due to the devastating effects of the COVID-19. Many researchers have studied the effect of this viral infection on lung epithelial transcriptomes and deposited data in public repositories. Comprehensive analysis of such data could pave the way for development of efficient vaccines and effective drugs. In the current study, we obtained high-throughput gene expression data associated with human lung epithelial cells infected with respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, SARS, H1N1, avian influenza, rhinovirus and Dhori, then performed comparative transcriptome analysis to identify SARS-CoV-2 exclusive genes. The analysis yielded seven SARS-CoV-2 specific genes including CSF2 [GM-CSF] (colony-stimulating factor 2) and calcium-binding proteins (such as S100A8 and S100A9), which are known to be involved in respiratory diseases. The analyses showed that genes involved in inflammation are commonly altered by infection of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Furthermore, results of protein–protein interaction analyses were consistent with a functional role of CSF2 and S100A9 in COVID-19 disease. In conclusion, our analysis revealed cellular genes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection of the human lung epithelium; these are potential therapeutic targets.
  • Published In

  • Scientific Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Chandrashekar DS; Athar M; Manne U; Varambally S
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 1