IL10RB as a key regulator of COVID-19 host susceptibility and severity
Gabriel E. Hoffman,
Kyung Min Lee,
Noam D. Beckmann,
Jennifer S. Lee,
Sudha K Iyengar,
Themistocles L Assimes,
Eric E. Schadt,
Benjamin R. tenOever,
Alexander W Charney,
Kristen J. Brennand,
John F. Fullard,
Posted 02 Jun 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.31.21254851
Posted 02 Jun 2021
Background Recent efforts have identified genetic loci that are associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection rates and disease outcome severity. Translating these genetic findings into druggable genes and readily available compounds that reduce COVID-19 host susceptibility is a critical next step. Methods We integrate COVID-19 genetic susceptibility variants, multi-tissue genetically regulated gene expression (GReX) and perturbargen signatures to identify candidate genes and compounds that reverse the predicted gene expression dysregulation associated with COVID-19 susceptibility. The top candidate gene is validated by testing both its GReX and observed blood transcriptome association with COVID-19 severity, as well as by in vitro perturbation to quantify effects on viral load and molecular pathway dysregulation. We validate the in silico drug repositioning analysis by examining whether the top candidate compounds decrease COVID-19 incidence based on epidemiological evidence. Results We identify IL10RB as the top key regulator of COVID-19 host susceptibility. Predicted GReX up-regulation of IL10RB and higher IL10RB expression in COVID-19 patient blood is associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes. In vitro IL10RB overexpression is associated with increased viral load and activation of immune-related molecular pathways. Azathioprine and retinol are prioritized as candidate compounds to reduce the likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19. Conclusions We establish an integrative data-driven approach for gene target prioritization. We identify and validate IL10RB as a suitable molecular target for modulation of COVID-19 host susceptibility. Finally, we provide evidence for a few readily available medications that would warrant further investigation as drug repositioning candidates.
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