Clinical Proteomics in COVID-19 Infection
July 6, 2020
Earlier this month, researchers at Francis Crick and Charité- Universitätsmedizin Berlin published a study in Cell Systems that identified protein biomarkers from patients hospitalized with COVID-19. In this study, they collected serum and plasma samples from individuals shortly after being hospitalized to find which proteins might be associated with severe outcomes. Their ultra-high-throughput proteomics utilizes an affordable mass spectrometry workflow in order to support rapid testing of biomarkers in patients. Their work aimed to offer an avenue to predict whether the patient would become critical through measurement of biomarkers.
Through this study of COVID-19 patients, the authors identified 27 potential biomarkers with differential expression depending on the severity of the patient’s condition of which some were previously unassociated with COVID-19. To explore the biology underlying the proteins that are upregulated by COVID-19, we analyzed them with our tool, CompBio™.
Upon exploring the proteins in CompBio, the impact of COVID-19 on modulating inflammation and coagulation mechanism is illustrated very clearly. Further, CompBio also shows the similarities in the profile of COVID-19 and other disorders.
Overview of CompBio Knowledge map:
In red (left), there are themes illustrating the host response to the virus including circulating inflammatory signaling (including activation of the complement cascade) and activation of the innate immune system.
In dark blue (right) shows the activation of coagulation and plaques.
In light blue (right) are other disorders that are associated with some of the proteins found in this study of COVID-19 patients.
This study illustrates the power that could be gained by performing clinical mass spectrometry and points to a possible use to gain a better understanding of the patient’s trajectory.
Additionally, this study identified proteins previously unknown to be associated with COVID-19.
Here, we illustrate how these targets can be further explored in CompBio to gain a deeper understanding of the biological roles of these potential biomarkers. This analysis highlights the prominence of the inflammatory response in more severe cases, which may be leading to clotting in small vessels and damage to organs.
Finally, here we see that the pattern of overactivation of complement signaling that potentially leads to thrombosis similar to observations from our previous analysis of a RNAseq study of COVID-19 blood samples.
Continuing to gain a deeper understanding of the markers of severe COVID-19 cases and studying which may be causative and worthy drug targets will lead to better patients outcomes.
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