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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-292235


Background: SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease severity are influenced by viral entry (VE) gene expression patterns in airway epithelium. The similarities and differences of VE gene expression (ACE2, TMPRSS2, and CTSL) across nasal and bronchial compartments has not been fully characterized using matched samples from large cohorts. Results: Gene expression data from 793 nasal and 1,673 bronchial brushes obtained from individuals participating in lung cancer screening or diagnostic workup revealed that smoking was the only clinical factor significantly and reproducibly associated with VE gene expression. ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression were higher in smokers in the bronchus but not in the nose. scRNA-seq of nasal brushings indicated that ACE2 co-expressed genes were highly expressed in club and C15orf48 + secretory cells while TMPRSS2 co-expressed genes were highly expressed in keratinizing epithelial cells. In contrast, these ACE2 and TMPRSS2 modules were highly expressed in goblet cells in scRNA-seq from bronchial brushings. Cell-type deconvolution of the RNA-seq confirmed that smoking increased the abundance of several secretory cell populations in the bronchus, but only goblet cells in the nose. Conclusions: The association of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 with smoking in the bronchus is due to their high expression in goblet cells which increase in abundance in current smoker airways. In contrast, in the nose these genes are not predominantly expressed in cell populations modulated by smoking. Smoking-induced VE gene expression changes in the nose likely has minimal impact on SARS-CoV-2 infection, but in the bronchus, smoking may lead to higher viral loads and more severe disease.

Cancers (Basel) ; 13(6)2021 Mar 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1140681


The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Severely symptomatic COVID-19 is associated with lung inflammation, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, thereby raising concerns of elevated risk of COVID-19-associated mortality among lung cancer patients. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the major receptor for SARS-CoV-2 entry into lung cells. The single-cell expression landscape of ACE2 and other SARS-CoV-2-related genes in pulmonary tissues of lung cancer patients remains unknown. We sought to delineate single-cell expression profiles of ACE2 and other SARS-CoV-2-related genes in pulmonary tissues of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) patients. We examined the expression levels and cellular distribution of ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2-priming proteases TMPRSS2 and TMPRSS4 in 5 LUADs and 14 matched normal tissues by single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) analysis. scRNA-seq of 186,916 cells revealed epithelial-specific expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and TMPRSS4. Analysis of 70,030 LUAD- and normal-derived epithelial cells showed that ACE2 levels were highest in normal alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells and that TMPRSS2 was expressed in 65% of normal AT2 cells. Conversely, the expression of TMPRSS4 was highest and most frequently detected (75%) in lung cells with malignant features. ACE2-positive cells co-expressed genes implicated in lung pathobiology, including COPD-associated HHIP, and the scavengers CD36 and DMBT1. Notably, the viral scavenger DMBT1 was significantly positively correlated with ACE2 expression in AT2 cells. We describe normal and tumor lung epithelial populations that express SARS-CoV-2 receptor and proteases, as well as major host defense genes, thus comprising potential treatment targets for COVID-19 particularly among lung cancer patients.