Co-expression analysis to identify key modules and hub genes associated with COVID-19 in platelets. Academic Article uri icon


  • Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increases the risk of cardiovascular occlusive/thrombotic events and is linked to poor outcomes. The underlying pathophysiological processes are complex, and remain poorly understood. To this end, platelets play important roles in regulating the cardiovascular system, including via contributions to coagulation and inflammation. There is ample evidence that circulating platelets are activated in COVID-19 patients, which is a primary driver of the observedthrombotic outcome. However, the comprehensive molecular basis of platelet activation in COVID-19 disease remains elusive, which warrants more investigation. Hence, we employed gene co-expression network analysis combined with pathways enrichment analysis to further investigate the aforementioned issues. Our study revealed three important gene clusters/modules that were closely related to COVID-19. These cluster of genes successfully identify COVID-19 cases, relative to healthy in a separate validation data set using machine learning, thereby validating our findings. Furthermore, enrichment analysis showed that these three modules were mostly related to platelet metabolism, protein translation, mitochondrial activity, and oxidative phosphorylation, as well as regulation of megakaryocyte differentiation, and apoptosis, suggesting a hyperactivation status of platelets in COVID-19. We identified the three hub genes from each of three key modules according to their intramodular connectivity value ranking, namely: COPE, CDC37, CAPNS1, AURKAIP1, LAMTOR2, GABARAP MT-ND1, MT-ND5, and MTRNR2L12. Collectively, our results offer a new and interesting insight into platelet involvement in COVID-19 disease at the molecular level, which might aid in defining new targets for treatment of COVID-19-induced thrombosis.

published proceedings

  • BMC Med Genomics

altmetric score

  • 4.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Alarabi, A. B., Mohsen, A., Mizuguchi, K., Alshbool, F. Z., & Khasawneh, F. T.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Alarabi, Ahmed B||Mohsen, Attayeb||Mizuguchi, Kenji||Alshbool, Fatima Z||Khasawneh, Fadi T

publication date

  • January 2022