NRPDTP students publish a workflow to identify key proteins and interactions in cells infected with SARS-CoV-2

Developed in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, ViralLink is a systems biology workflow which reconstructs and analyses networks representing the effect of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, on intracellular signalling.  NRPDTP alumna Agatha Traveil was the lead author in the publication and four current NRPDTP students, Marton Olbei, Leila Gul, Martina Poletti, Matthew Madgwick, all members of the Korcsmaros Group, were involved in the project.

These networks trace the flow of signal from intracellular viral proteins through their human binding proteins and downstream signalling pathways, ending with transcription factors regulating genes differentially expressed upon viral exposure. In this way, the workflow provides a mechanistic insight from previously identified knowledge of virally infected cells. The workflow is publicly available, enabling a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research viral pathomechanisms – and aiding the discovery of key pathways and proteins in the cellular response to infection. Application of ViralLink to different viral infections in a context specific manner using different available transcriptomics datasets will uncover key mechanisms in viral pathogenesis.

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