Integrative analysis to discover candidate molecular mimicries between human and viral proteins with application to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and post-outbreak sequelae
Nuno Sepúlveda (applicant) and Przemyslaw Biecek (co-applicant)
Department of Mathematics and Information Science, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland
The Ulam NAWA (Polish Agency for Academic Exchange) programme, Poland.
Starting date and duration:
July 1st, 2021 for two years.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) has been widely reported as a post-infection sequela by survivors from recent life-threatening viral outbreaks of Ebola, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A similar debilitating sequela is expected in the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 caused by SARS-like coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). Pathologically speaking, ME/CFS has been hypothesized as an aberrant immune response against viral and human proteins sharing similar molecular characteristics (the so-called molecular mimicry). However, the precise causal proteins of ME/CFS remain to be identified. In my proposal, I intend to conduct an integrative bioinformatic analysis to discover candidate molecular mimicries between human proteins from the circadian rhythm and different human viruses including SARS-CoV2. In my analysis, I will use available human genetic data together with computational and statistical techniques from bioinformatics, immunogenetics, and population genetics to achieve my goal. In the end, I will make my findings publicly available via a dedicated website/online database hosted and maintained by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science from Warszawa Politechnika. This online database is intended to guide researchers in future studies on the pathogenesis of ME/CFS and other post-outbreak sequelae involving persisting fatigue.
Immunogenetics, antigenic mimicry, bioinformatics, disease etiology, health risk.