COVID-19 is an infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2), which has caused a global outbreak. Current research efforts are focused on the understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to propose drug-based therapeutic options. Transcriptional changes due to epigenetic regulation are key host cell responses to viral infection and have been studied in SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV; however, such changes are not fully described for SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we analyzed multiple transcriptomes obtained from cell lines infected with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, and from COVID-19 patient-derived samples. Using integrative analyses of gene co-expression networks and de-novo pathway enrichment, we characterize different gene modules and protein pathways enriched with Transcription Factors or Epifactors relevant for SARS-CoV-2 infection. We identified EP300, MOV10, RELA, and TRIM25 as top candidates, and more than 60 additional proteins involved in the epigenetic response during viral infection that has therapeutic potential. Our results show that targeting the epigenetic machinery could be a feasible alternative to treat COVID-19.
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© 2021, The Author(s).