Computational Prediction of the Comprehensive SARS-CoV-2 vs. Human Interactome to Guide the Design of Therapeutics


Understanding the disease pathogenesis of the novel coronavirus, denoted SARS-CoV-2, is critical to the development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics. The global propagation of the viral disease, denoted COVID-19 (“coronavirus disease 2019”), has unified the scientific community in searching for possible inhibitory small molecules or polypeptides. Given the known interaction between the human ACE2 (“Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2”) protein and the SARS-CoV virus (responsible for the coronavirus outbreak circa. 2003), considerable focus has been directed towards the putative interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and ACE2. However, a more holistic understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 vs. human inter-species interactome promises additional putative protein-protein interactions (PPI) that may be considered targets for the development of inhibitory therapeutics. To that end, we leverage two state-of-the-art, sequence-based PPI predictors (PIPE4 & SPRINT) capable of generating the comprehensive SARS-CoV-2 vs. human interactome, comprising approximately 285,000 pairwise predictions. Of these, we identify the high-scoring subset of human proteins predicted to interact with each of the 14 SARS-CoV-2 proteins by both methods, comprising 279 high-confidence putative interactions involving 225 human proteins. Notably, the Spike-ACE2 interaction was the highest ranked for both the PIPE4 and SPRINT predictors, corroborating existing evidence for this PPI. Furthermore, the PIPE-Sites algorithm was used to predict the putative subsequence that might mediate each interaction and thereby inform the design of inhibitory polypeptides intended to disrupt the corresponding host-pathogen interactions. We hereby publicly release the comprehensive set of PPI predictions and their corresponding PIPE-Sites landscapes in the following DataVerse repository: 10.5683/SP2/JZ77XA. All data and metadata are released under a CC-BY 4.0 licence. The information provided represents theoretical modeling only and caution should be exercised in its use. It is intended as a resource for the scientific community at large in furthering our understanding of SARS-CoV-2.