Genetic architecture of host proteins involved in SARS-CoV-2 infection

Nat Commun. 2020 Dec 16;11(1):6397. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19996-z.


Understanding the genetic architecture of host proteins interacting with SARS-CoV-2 or mediating the maladaptive host response to COVID-19 can help to identify new or repurpose existing drugs targeting those proteins. We present a genetic discovery study of 179 such host proteins among 10,708 individuals using an aptamer-based technique. We identify 220 host DNA sequence variants acting in cis (MAF 0.01-49.9%) and explaining 0.3-70.9% of the variance of 97 of these proteins, including 45 with no previously known protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL) and 38 encoding current drug targets. Systematic characterization of pQTLs across the phenome identified protein-drug-disease links and evidence that putative viral interaction partners such as MARK3 affect immune response. Our results accelerate the evaluation and prioritization of new drug development programmes and repurposing of trials to prevent, treat or reduce adverse outcomes. Rapid sharing and detailed interrogation of results is facilitated through an interactive webserver ( ).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System / metabolism
  • Aptamers, Peptide / blood
  • Aptamers, Peptide / metabolism
  • Blood Coagulation
  • COVID-19 / genetics*
  • COVID-19 / virology*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Host-Derived Cellular Factors / metabolism
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology*


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Aptamers, Peptide
  • Host-Derived Cellular Factors
  • Proteins