The human virome protein cluster database (HVPC): A human viral metagenomic database for diversity and function annotation

Ali H.A. Elbehery, Judith Feichtmayer, Dave Singh, Christian Griebler, Li Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Human virome, including those of bacteria (bacteriophages) have received an increasing attention recently, owing to the rapid developments in human microbiome research and the awareness of the far-reaching influence of microbiomes on health and disease. Nevertheless, human viromes are still underrepresented in literature making viruses a virtually untapped resource of diversity, functional and physiological information. Here we present the human virome protein cluster database as an effort to improve functional annotation and characterization of human viromes. The database was built out of hundreds of virome datasets from six different body sites. We also show the utility of this database through its use for the characterization of three bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) viromes from one healthy control in addition to one moderate and one severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. The use of the database allowed for a better functional annotation, which were otherwise poorly characterized when limited to annotation using sequences from full-length viral genomes. In addition, our BAL samples gave a first insight into viral communities of COPD patients and confirm a state of dysbiosis for viruses that increases with disease progression. Moreover, they shed light on the potential role of phages in the horizontal gene transfer of bacterial virulence factors, a phenomenon that highlights a possible contribution of phages to etiopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1110
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 29 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Human virome
  • Lung virome
  • Protein cluster
  • Viral metagenomics


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