Serum microRNAs targeting ACE2 and RAB14 genes distinguish asymptomatic from critical COVID-19 patients
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Author/sCalderón Domínguez, María; Trejo Gutiérrez, Eva Lucía; González Rovira, Almudena; Beltrán Camacho, Lucía; Rojas Torres, Marta; Eslava Alcon, Sara; Sánchez Morillo, Daniel; Calderón-Domínguez, Juan; Martinez‑Nicolás, Mª Pilar; Gonzalez-Beitia, Estibaliz; Nieto-Martín, Mª Dolores; Trujillo-Soto, Teresa; Rodríguez Iglesias, Manuel Antonio; Moreno, Juan A.; Moreno Luna, Rafael; Durán Ruiz, María del Carmen
DepartmentBiomedicina, Biotecnología y Salud Pública; Ingeniería en Automática, Electrónica, Arquitectura y Redes de Computadores
SourceMolecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids, Vol. 29, pp. 76-87
Despite the extraordinary advances achieved to beat COVID-19 disease, many questions remain unsolved, including the mechanisms of action of SARS-CoV-2 and which factors determine why individuals respond so differently to the viral infection. Herein, we performed an in silico analysis to identify host microRNA targeting ACE2, TMPRSS2, and/or RAB14, all genes known to participate in viral entry and replication. Next, the levels of six microRNA candidates previously linked to viral and respiratory-related pathologies were measured in the serum of COVID-19-negative controls (n = 16), IgG-positive COVID-19 asymptomatic individuals (n = 16), and critical COVID-19 patients (n = 17). Four of the peripheral micro-RNAs analyzed (hsa-miR-32-5p, hsa-miR-98-3p, hsa-miR-423-3p, and hsa-miR-1246) were upregulated in COVID-19 critical patients compared with COVID-19-negative controls. Moreover, hsa-miR-32-5p and hsa-miR-1246 levels were also altered in critical versus asymptomatic individuals. Furthermore, these microRNA target genes were related to viral infection, inflammatory response, and coagulation-related processes. In conclusion, SARS-CoV-2 promotes the alteration of microRNAs targeting the expression of key proteins for viral entry and replication, and these changes are associated with disease severity. The microRNAs identified could be taken as potential biomarkers of COVID-19 progression as well as candidates for future therapeutic approaches against this disease.