Transcriptome analysis of micro-RNAs associated with COVID-19 disease
Kasambula, Arthur Shem
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The host microRNA (miRNA), which is essential for maintaining the epithelial cell barrier in the respiratory tract as well as controlling viral entry and reproduction, plays a significant role in COVID-19 infection. Despite the fact that there is a wealth of data demonstrating the critical function of miRNAs in critical cell biology and immune system regulation networks, very little study has utilized miRNA sequence data to examine the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying COVID-19. Numerous miRNAs have been shown to change their expression patterns in host epithelial cells as a result of infections with COVID-19 in particular. Therefore, analyzing the miRNA profiles of COVID-19 patients may provide essential data for advancing our understanding of the pathology of COVID-19. This study aimed to characterize the miRNAs that are differentially expressed during COVID-19 infection and identify the pathways that are impacted by the differentially expressed miRNAs using publicly available miRNASeq data sets available at NCBI. This was a cross sectional study design using samples deposited at NCBI between 2020 to 2022. The raw sequences were obtained using the sequence read archive tool kit and assessed for quality using FASTQC. Differential expression analysis was performed using the DESeq package in R and the KEGG and GO database were used to identify enriched pathways. The highest number of patients were males taking up to approximately 53% (16/30) of the entire sample population and a median age of 69 was observed across the sample. Our analysis found out that miR-24-3p and miR-222-3p were significantly expressed in severe COVID-19 patients compared to survivors and the dead. Additionally, there is potential involvement of cardiac signaling pathways, such as membrane depolarization, regulation of membrane repolarization, and WNT signaling, in the pathogenesis of COVID-19, focusing on the context of long-term COVID-19.