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Proteomic and metabolomic signatures associated with the immune response in healthy individuals immunized with an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

By Yi Wang, Xiaoxia Wang, Laurence Don Wai Luu, Shaojin Chen, Jin Fu, Shufang Wang, Xiaolan Huang, Licheng Wang, Xiaocui Zhou, Xi Chen, Xiaodai Cui, Jieqiong Li, Jun Tai, Xiong Zhu

Posted 24 Jul 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.07.21.21260959

CoronaVac (Sinovac), an inactivated vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, has been widely used for immunization. However, analysis of the underlying molecular mechanisms driving CoronaVac-induced immunity is still limited. Here, we applied a systems biology approach to understand the mechanisms behind the adaptive immune response to CoronaVac in a cohort of 50 volunteers immunized with 2 doses of CoronaVac. Vaccination with CoronaVac led to an integrated immune response that included several effector arms of the adaptive immune system including specific IgM/IgG, humoral response and other immune response, as well as the innate immune system as shown by complement activation. Metabolites associated with immunity were also identified implicating the role of metabolites in the humoral response, complement activation and other immune response. Networks associated with the TCA cycle and amino acids metabolic pathways, such as phenylalanine metabolism, phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan biosynthesis, and glycine, serine and threonine metabolism were tightly coupled with immunity. Critically, we constructed a multifactorial response network (MRN) to analyze the underlying interactions and compared the signatures affected by CoronaVac immunization and SARS-CoV-2 infection to further identify immune signatures and related metabolic pathways altered by CoronaVac immunization. These results suggest that protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 can be achieved via multiple mechanisms and highlights the utility of a systems biology approach in defining molecular correlates of protection to vaccination.

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