RNA Sequencing and Gene Ontology Analysis in Acute Invasive Fungal Sinusitis

Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2023 Jan;37(1):78-82. doi: 10.1177/19458924221134732. Epub 2022 Oct 26.


Background: Acute invasive fungal sinusitis (AIFS) is an aggressive and dangerous disease of the paranasal sinuses with high morbidity and mortality. The immune response at the level of the nasal mucosa, the site of entry, has not been previously evaluated.

Objective: To evaluate differential gene expression in the sinonasal mucosa of AIFS patients as compared to control patients using RNA sequencing.

Methods: Sinonasal tissue samples were prospectively obtained from consenting patients undergoing surgery between November, 2020 and November, 2021. RNA extraction and sequencing were performed and differential expression was analyzed to detect transcriptional differences between patient groups.

Results: Tissue samples were collected from 4 patients with active AIFS diagnoses, 2 patients with recovered AIFS, 1 patient with a diagnosis of non-invasive fungal ball, and 4 healthy controls. 255 genes were differentially expressed in AIFS patients as compared to control patients. Specific Gene Ontology (GO) biological processes that were identified as differentially expressed in AIFS patients as compared to controls included the following: 1. GO:0007155 (cell adhesion), 2. GO:0030199 (collagen fibril organization) and 3. GO:0001525 (angiogenesis).

Conclusion: Transcriptional differences were noted between AIFS and control patients in sinonasal tissue samples. Future work is necessary to determine causes of the differential gene expressions between AIFS and control patients, specifically those who are immunosuppressed, or with preexisting non-invasive forms of fungal sinusitis, to guide treatment and prevention strategies.

Keywords: RNA sequencing; chronic sinusitis; fungal sinusitis; invasive fungal sinusitis; transcriptomics.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Ontology
  • Humans
  • Nasal Mucosa
  • Paranasal Sinuses* / surgery
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Sinusitis* / diagnosis