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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Microarray analysis of MicroRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of critically ill patients with influenza A (H1N1)

Hao Song123, Qi Wang23, Yang Guo4, Shunai Liu23, Rui Song5, Xuesong Gao23, Li Dai4, Baoshun Li5, Deli Zhang12* and Jun Cheng23*

Author Affiliations

1 MOA Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology of National Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Veterinary Immunology, and Research Laboratory of Virology, Immunology & Bioinformatics, Division of Veterinary Microbiology & Virology, Department of Preventive Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, 712100, China

2 Institute of Infectious Diseases, Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, 100015, China

3 Beijing Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Beijing, 100015, China

4 Investigation Group of Molecular Virology, Immunology, Oncology & Systems Biology, Center for Bioinformatics, College of Life Sciences, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, 712100, China

5 Department of Infectious Diseases, Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, 100015, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:257  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-257

Published: 3 June 2013

Abstract

Background

With concerns about the disastrous health and economic consequences caused by the influenza pandemic, comprehensively understanding the global host response to influenza virus infection is urgent. The role of microRNA (miRNA) has recently been highlighted in pathogen-host interactions. However, the precise role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of influenza virus infection in humans, especially in critically ill patients is still unclear.

Methods

We identified cellular miRNAs involved in the host response to influenza virus infection by performing comprehensive miRNA profiling in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from critically ill patients with swine-origin influenza pandemic H1N1 (2009) virus infection via miRNA microarray and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was conducted and area under the ROC curve (AUC) was calculated to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of severe H1N1 influenza virus infection. Furthermore, an integrative network of miRNA-mediated host-influenza virus protein interactions was constructed by integrating the predicted and validated miRNA-gene interaction data with influenza virus and host-protein-protein interaction information using Cytoscape software. Moreover, several hub genes in the network were selected and validated by qRT-PCR.

Results

Forty-one significantly differentially expressed miRNAs were found by miRNA microarray; nine were selected and validated by qRT-PCR. QRT-PCR assay and ROC curve analyses revealed that miR-31, miR-29a and miR-148a all had significant potential diagnostic value for critically ill patients infected with H1N1 influenza virus, which yielded AUC of 0.9510, 0.8951 and 0.8811, respectively. We subsequently constructed an integrative network of miRNA-mediated host-influenza virus protein interactions, wherein we found that miRNAs are involved in regulating important pathways, such as mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway, epidermal growth factor receptor signaling pathway, and Toll-like receptor signaling pathway, during influenza virus infection. Some of differentially expressed miRNAs via in silico analysis targeted mRNAs of several key genes in these pathways. The mRNA expression level of tumor protein T53 and transforming growth factor beta receptor 1 were found significantly reduced in critically ill patients, whereas the expression of Janus kinase 2, caspase 3 apoptosis-related cysteine peptidase, interleukin 10, and myxovirus resistance 1 were extremely increased in critically ill patients.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that the dysregulation of miRNAs in the PBMCs of H1N1 critically ill patients can regulate a number of key genes in the major signaling pathways associated with influenza virus infection. These differentially expressed miRNAs could be potential therapeutic targets or biomarkers for severe influenza virus infection.

Keywords:
Critically ill patient; 2009 H1N1 Influenza pandemic; miRNA; Host pathogen interaction; Systems biology