Elevated A-to-I RNA editing in COVID-19 infected individuals

Rona Merdler-Rabinowicz, David Gorelik, Jiwoon Park, Cem Meydan, Jonathan Foox, Miriam Karmon, Hillel S. Roth, Roni Cohen-Fultheim, Galit Shohat-Ophir, Eli Eisenberg, Eytan Ruppin, Christopher E. Mason, Erez Y. Levanon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Given the current status of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a global pandemic, it is of high priority to gain a deeper understanding of the disease's development and how the virus impacts its host. Adenosine (A)-to-Inosine (I) RNA editing is a post-transcriptional modification, catalyzed by the ADAR family of enzymes, that can be considered part of the inherent cellular defense mechanism as it affects the innate immune response in a complex manner. It was previously reported that various viruses could interact with the host's ADAR enzymes, resulting in epigenetic changes both to the virus and the host. Here, we analyze RNA-seq of nasopharyngeal swab specimens as well as whole-blood samples of COVID-19 infected individuals and show a significant elevation in the global RNA editing activity in COVID-19 compared to healthy controls. We also detect specific coding sites that exhibit higher editing activity. We further show that the increment in editing activity during the disease is temporary and returns to baseline shortly after the symptomatic period. These significant epigenetic changes may contribute to the immune system response and affect adverse outcomes seen in post-viral cases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberlqad092
JournalNAR Genomics and Bioinformatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

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© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of NAR Genomics and Bioinformatics.


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