The outcome of respiratory virus infection is determined by a complex interplay of viral and host factors. Some potentially important host factors for the antiviral response, whose functions remain largely unexplored, are long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Here we systematically inferred the regulatory functions of host lncRNAs in response to influenza A virus and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) based on their similarity in expression with genes of known function. We performed total RNA-Seq on viral-infected lungs from eight mouse strains, yielding a large data set of transcriptional responses. Overall 5,329 lncRNAs were differentially expressed after infection. Most of the lncRNAs were co-expressed with coding genes in modules enriched in genes associated with lung homeostasis pathways or immune response processes. Each lncRNA was further individually annotated using a rank-based method, enabling us to associate 5,295 lncRNAs to at least one gene set and to predict their potential cis effects. We validated the lncRNAs predicted to be interferon-stimulated by profiling mouse responses after interferon-α treatment. Altogether, these results provide a broad categorization of potential lncRNA functions and identify subsets of lncRNAs with likely key roles in respiratory virus pathogenesis. These data are fully accessible through the MOuse NOn-Code Lung interactive database (MONOCLdb).
Keywords: collaborative cross; influenza virus; interferon; long non-coding rna; rna-seq; sars-cov.