OCT 06, 2020 2:04 PM PDT

Web Resources Provide Insights Into COVID-19 Research

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Web resources are now helping researchers globally to answer critical questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources provides information on the expression of cellular genes affected by coronavirus in the context of a complex network of host molecular signaling pathways.

Learn more about COVID-19:

The fingertip information is freely available through the Signaling Pathways Project (Baylor) and the Network Data Exchange (UCSD) and part of a web-based platform study known as “The Signaling Pathway Project” to accelerate the development of drugs targeting coronavirus.

"Our motivation for developing this resource is to contribute to making research about COVID-19 more accessible to the scientific community. When researchers have open access to each other's work, discoveries move forward more efficiently," said leading author Dr. Neil McKenna, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology and member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor.

The study sheds light onto molecular informatics and opens doors to easily accessible information, overcoming the burden that plagued the scientific community involving limited access to molecular datasets associated with disease. Findings were published in the journal Scientific Data. With the Signaling Pathways Project, it integrates molecular datasets found in the literature and groups it into consensus regulatory signatures that order genes according to the differing rates of expression, known as ‘consensomes’.

Learn more about molecular informatics:

The study generated consensomes for particular genes targeted by three major coronavirus infections 1) Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS), 2) severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses 1 (SARS1) and 2)  2 (SARS2, which causes COVID-19).

"The collaboration with UCSD makes our analyses available as intuitive Cytoscape-style networks," says McKenna. "Because using these resources does not require training in meta-analysis, they greatly lower the barriers to usability by bench researchers."

The study is providing new insights to COVID-19 previously unknown before.

"We found evidence that progesterone receptor signaling antagonizes SARS2-induced inflammatory signaling mediated by interferon in the airway epithelium. This finding suggests the hypothesis that the suppression of the interferon response to SARS2 infection by elevated circulating progesterone during pregnancy may contribute to the asymptomatic clinical course," McKenna said.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
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