Identification of Key Immune-Related Genes in the Progression of Septic Shock.
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Objective: Septic shock is the severe complication of sepsis, with a high mortality. The inflammatory response regulates the immune status and mediates the progression of septic shock. In this study, we aim to identify the key immune-related genes (IRGs) of septic shock and explore their potential mechanism. Methods: Gene expression profiles of septic shock blood samples and normal whole blood samples were retrieved from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and Genotype-Tissue Expression Portal (GTEx). The differential expression genes (DEGs) and septic shock-specific immune-related genes (SSSIRGs) were evaluated and identified, along with the immune components by "cell type identification by estimating relative subsets of RNA transcripts (CIBERSORT, version x)" algorithm. Additionally, in order to explore the key regulatory network, the relationship among SSSIRGs, upstream transcription factors (TFs), and downstream signaling pathways were also identified by Gene Set Variation Analysis (GSVA) and co-expression analysis. Moreover, the Connectivity Map (CMap) analysis was applied to find bioactive small molecules against the members of regulation network while Chromatin Immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) and Assay for Targeting Accessible-Chromatin with high-throughput sequencing (ATAC-seq) data were used to validate the regulation mechanism of the network. Results: A total of 14,843 DEGs were found between 63 septic shock blood samples and 337 normal whole blood samples. Then, we identified septic shock-specific 839 IRGs as the intersection of DEGs and IRGs. Moreover, we uncovered the regulatory networks based on co-expression analysis and found 28 co-expression interaction pairs. In the regulation network, protein phosphatase 3, catalytic subunit, alpha isozyme (PPP3CA) may regulate late estrogen response, glycolysis and TNFα signaling via NFκB and HLA; Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) may be related to late estrogen response and HLA; and Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8) may be associated with TNFα signaling via NFκB. And the regulation mechanisms between TFs and IRGs (TLR8, PPP3CA, and KRAS) were validated by ChIP-seq and ATAC-seq. Conclusion: Our data identify three SSSIRGs (TLR8, PPP3CA, and KRAS) as candidate therapeutic targets for septic shock and provide constructed regulatory networks in septic shock to explore its potential mechanism.


immune-related genes
septic shock


Niu, Jingjing
Qin, Bingyu
Wang, Cunzhen
Chen, Chao
Yang, Jianxu
Shao, Huanzhang

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