Unravelling host-pathogen interactions: ceRNA network in SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19)

Gene. 2020 Dec 15:762:145057. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2020.145057. Epub 2020 Aug 15.


COVID-19 is a lurking calamitous disease caused by an unusual virus, SARS-CoV-2, causing massive deaths worldwide. Nonetheless, explicit therapeutic drugs or clinically approved vaccines are not available for COVID-19. Thus, a comprehensive research is crucially needed to decode the pathogenic tools, plausible drug targets, committed to the development of efficient therapy. Host-pathogen interactions via host cellular components is an emerging field of research in this respect. miRNAs have been established as vital players in host-virus interactions. Moreover, viruses have the capability to manoeuvre the host miRNA networks according to their own obligations. Besides protein coding mRNAs, noncoding RNAs might also be targeted in infected cells and viruses can exploit the host miRNA network via ceRNA effect. We have predicted a ceRNA network involving one miRNA (miR-124-3p), one mRNA (Ddx58), one lncRNA (Gm26917) and two circRNAs (Ppp1r10, C330019G07RiK) in SARS-CoV infected cells. We have identified 4 DEGs-Isg15, Ddx58, Oasl1, Usp18 by analyzing a mRNA GEO dataset. There is no notable induction of IFNs and IFN-induced ACE2, significant receptor responsible for S-protein binding mediated viral entry. Pathway enrichment and GO analysis conceded the enrichment of pathways associated with interferon signalling and antiviral-mechanism by IFN-stimulated genes. Further, we have identified 3 noncoding RNAs, playing as potential ceRNAs to the genes associated with immune mechanisms. This integrative analysis has identified noncoding RNAs and their plausible targets, which could effectively enhance the understanding of molecular mechanisms associated with viral infection. However, validation of these targets is further corroborated to determine their therapeutic efficacy.

Keywords: COVID-19; Long noncoding RNAs; SARS-CoV-2; ceRNA network; miR-124-3p.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / genetics*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / genetics*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • RNA, Circular / genetics*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Messenger