Proteomic profiling identifies novel proteins for genetic risk of severe COVID-19: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

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BACKGROUND: Genome-wide association studies have identified six genetic variants associated with severe COVID-19, yet the mechanisms through which they may affect disease remains unclear. We investigated proteomic signatures related to COVID-19 risk variants rs657152 (ABO), rs10735079 (OAS1/OAS2/OAS3), rs2109069 (DPP9), rs74956615 (TYK2), rs2236757 (IFNAR2) and rs11385942 (SLC6A20/LZTFL1/CCR9/FYCO1/CXCR6/XCR1) as well as their corresponding downstream pathways that may promote severe COVID-19 in risk allele carriers and their potential relevancies to other infection outcomes. METHODS: A DNA aptamer-based array measured 4870 plasma proteins among 11 471 participants. Linear regression estimated associations between the COVID-19 risk variants and proteins with correction for multiple comparisons, and canonical pathway analysis was conducted. Cox regression assessed associations between proteins identified in the main analysis and risk of incident hospitalized respiratory infections (2570 events) over a 20.7-year follow-up. RESULTS: The ABO variant rs657152 was associated with 84 proteins in 7241 white participants with 24 replicated in 1671 Black participants. The TYK2 variant rs74956615 was associated with ICAM-1 and -5 in white participants with ICAM-5 replicated in Black participants. Of the 84 proteins identified in the main analysis, seven were significantly associated with incident hospitalized respiratory infections including Ephrin type-A receptor 4 (hazard ratio (HR): 0.87; P = 2.3 × 10-11) and von Willebrand factor type A (HR: 1.17; P = 1.6x10-13). CONCLUSIONS: Novel proteomics signatures and pathways for COVID-19-related risk variants TYK2 and ABO were identified. A subset of these proteins predicted greater risk of incident hospitalized pneumonia and respiratory infections. Further studies to examine these proteins in COVID-19 patients are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number 35212764
Pages (from-to)2452-2461
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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