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Int J Biol Sci ; 17(14): 3954-3967, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1449161


Furin is a proprotein convertase that activates different kinds of regulatory proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 spike protein which contains an additional furin-specific cleavage site. It is essential in predicting cancer patients' susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and the disease outcomes due to varying furin expressions in tumor tissues. In this study, we analyzed furin's expression, methylation, mutation rate, functional enrichment, survival rate and COVID-19 outcomes in normal and cancer tissues using online databases, and our IHC. As a result, furin presented with biased expression profiles in normal tissues, showing 12.25-fold higher than ACE2 in the lungs. The furin expression in tumors were significantly increased in ESCA and TGCT, and decreased in DLBC and THYM, indicating furin may play critical mechanistic functions in COVID-19 viral entry into cells in these cancer patients. Line with furin over/downexpression, furin promoter hypo-/hyper-methylation may be the regulatory cause of disease and lead to pathogenesis of ESCA and THYM. Furthermore, presence of FURIN-201 isoform with functional domains (P_proprotein, Peptidase_S8 and S8_pro-domain) is highest in all cancer types in comparison to other isoforms, demonstrating its use in tumorigenesis and SARS-Cov-2 entry into tumor tissues. Furin mutation frequency was highest in UCES, and its mutation might elevate ACE2 expression in LUAD and UCEC, reduce ACE2 expression in COAD, elevate HSPA5 expression in PAAD, and elevate TMPRSS2 expression in BRCA. These results showed that furin mutations mostly increased expression of ACE2, HSPA5, and TMPRSS2 in certain cancers, indicating furin mutations might facilitate COVID-19 cell entry in cancer patients. In addition, high expression of furin was significantly inversely correlated with long overall survival (OS) in LGG and correlated with long OS in COAD and KIRC, indicating that it could be used as a favorable prognostic marker for cancer patients' survival. GO and KEGG demonstrated that furin was mostly enriched in genes for metabolic and biosynthetic processes, retinal dehydrogenase activity, tRNA methyltransferase activity, and genes involving COVID-19, further supporting its role in COVID-19 and cancer metabolism. Moreover, Cordycepin (CD) inhibited furin expression in a dosage dependent manner. Altogether, furin's high expression might not only implies increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and higher severity of COVID-19 symptoms in cancer patients, but also it highlights the need for cancer treatment and therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic. CD might have a potential to develop an anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug through inhibiting furin expression.

Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Deoxyadenosines/therapeutic use , Furin/metabolism , Neoplasms/metabolism , Antineoplastic Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/complications , Cell Line, Tumor , Deoxyadenosines/pharmacology , Disease Susceptibility , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Furin/genetics , Humans , Neoplasms/complications , Protein Isoforms/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(3): 897-910, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1154779


HSPA5 (BiP, GRP78) has been reported as a potential host-cell receptor for SARS-Cov-2, but its expression profiles on different tissues including tumors, its susceptibility to SARS-Cov-2 virus and severity of its adverse effects on malignant patients are unclear. In the current study, HSPA5 has been found to be expressed ubiquitously in normal tissues and significantly increased in 14 of 31 types of cancer tissues. In lung cancer, mRNA levels of HSPA5 were 253-fold increase than that of ACE2. Meanwhile, in both malignant tumors and matched normal samples across almost all cancer types, mRNA levels of HSPA5 were much higher than those of ACE2. Higher expression of HSPA5 significantly decreased patient overall survival (OS) in 7 types of cancers. Moreover, systematic analyses found that 7.15% of 5,068 COVID-19 cases have malignant cancer coincidental situations, and the rate of severe events of COVID-19 patients with cancers present a higher trend than that for all COVID-19 patients, showing a significant difference (33.33% vs 16.09%, p<0.01). Collectively, these data imply that the tissues with high HSPA5 expression, not low ACE2 expression, are susceptible to be invaded by SARS-CoV-2. Taken together, this study not only indicates the clinical significance of HSPA5 in COVID-19 disease and cancers, but also provides potential clues for further medical treatments and managements of COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19/complications , Gene Expression Profiling , Heat-Shock Proteins/genetics , Neoplasms/complications , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Humans , Neoplasms/metabolism , Neoplasms/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
Mol Biol Rep ; 47(6): 4383-4392, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-260333


The ACE2 gene is a receptor of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) for COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). To analyze the expression profiles and clinical significances for this gene in humans, RNA-seq data representing 27 different tissues were analyzed using NCBI; total RNA was extracted from different tissues of mouse and semi-quantitative reverse transcriptional-polymerase chain reaction (Q-RT-PCR) was carried out. Immunohistochemistry expression profiles in normal tissues and cancer tissues and TCGA survival analysis in renal and liver cancer were conducted. ACE2 was highly conserved in different species. In normal tissues, ACE2 expression distributions were organ-specific, mainly in the kidney, male testis and female breast, and cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. High level of expression in testis, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal system indicated that SARS-CoV-2 might not only attack the lungs, but also affect other organs, particularly the testes, thus it may severely damage male sexual development for younger male and lead to infertility in an adult male, if he contracted COVID-19. On the other side, high expression of ACE2 was correlated with increased survival rate in renal and liver cancer, indicating that ACE2 is a prognostic marker in both renal cancer and liver cancers. Thus, the ACE2 is a functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2 and has a potential anti-tumor role in cancer. Taken together, this study may not only provide potential clues for further medical pathogenesis of COVID-19 and male fertility, but also indicate the clinical significance of the role of the ACE2 gene in cancer.

Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Kidney Neoplasms/genetics , Liver Neoplasms/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Databases, Genetic , Female , Gene Expression Regulation , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Kidney/metabolism , Kidney/pathology , Kidney/virology , Kidney Neoplasms/mortality , Kidney Neoplasms/pathology , Kidney Neoplasms/virology , Liver/metabolism , Liver/pathology , Liver/virology , Liver Neoplasms/mortality , Liver Neoplasms/pathology , Liver Neoplasms/virology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Mammary Glands, Human/metabolism , Mammary Glands, Human/pathology , Mammary Glands, Human/virology , Mice , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Protein Binding , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Signal Transduction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Survival Analysis , Testis/metabolism , Testis/pathology , Testis/virology