J Med Virol. 2023 Jan 4. doi: 10.1002/jmv.28450. Online ahead of print.
Several perturbations in the number of peripheral blood leukocytes, such as neutrophilia and lymphopenia associated with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) severity, point to systemic molecular cell cycle alterations during severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. However, the landscape of cell cycle alterations in COVID-19 remains primarily unexplored. Here, we performed an integrative systems immunology analysis of publicly available proteome and transcriptome data to characterize global changes in the cell cycle signature of COVID-19 patients. We found significantly enriched cell cycle-associated gene co-expression modules and an interconnected network of cell cycle-associated differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) and genes (DEGs) by integrating the molecular data of 1,469 individuals (981 SARS-CoV-2 infected patients and 488 controls [either healthy controls or individuals with other respiratory illnesses]). Among these DEPs and DEGs are several cyclins (CCNs), cell division cycles (CDCs), cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), and mini-chromosome maintenance (MCMs) proteins. COVID-19 patients partially shared the expression pattern of some cell cycle-associated genes with other respiratory illnesses but exhibited some specific differential features. Notably, the cell cycle signature predominated in the patients’ blood leukocytes (B, T, and NK cells) and was associated with COVID-19 severity and disease trajectories. These results provide a unique global understanding of distinct alterations in cell cycle-associated molecules in COVID-19 patients, suggesting new putative pathways for therapeutic intervention. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.