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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 239462, 11 pages
Research Article

Identification of Influenza A/H7N9 Virus Infection-Related Human Genes Based on Shortest Paths in a Virus-Human Protein Interaction Network

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin Key Lab of BME Measurement, Tianjin 300072, China
2State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, Institute of Health Sciences, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine and Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200025, China
3Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, NY, USA
4Institute of Systems Biology, Shanghai University, 99 Shangda Road, Shanghai 200444, China

Received 10 March 2014; Revised 18 April 2014; Accepted 21 April 2014; Published 18 May 2014

Academic Editor: Lei Chen

Copyright © 2014 Ning Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The recently emerging Influenza A/H7N9 virus is reported to be able to infect humans and cause mortality. However, viral and host factors associated with the infection are poorly understood. It is suggested by the “guilt by association” rule that interacting proteins share the same or similar functions and hence may be involved in the same pathway. In this study, we developed a computational method to identify Influenza A/H7N9 virus infection-related human genes based on this rule from the shortest paths in a virus-human protein interaction network. Finally, we screened out the most significant 20 human genes, which could be the potential infection related genes, providing guidelines for further experimental validation. Analysis of the 20 genes showed that they were enriched in protein binding, saccharide or polysaccharide metabolism related pathways and oxidative phosphorylation pathways. We also compared the results with those from human rhinovirus (HRV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) by the same method. It was indicated that saccharide or polysaccharide metabolism related pathways might be especially associated with the H7N9 infection. These results could shed some light on the understanding of the virus infection mechanism, providing basis for future experimental biology studies and for the development of effective strategies for H7N9 clinical therapies.