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1.
Am J Pathol ; 191(9): 1511-1519, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432756

ABSTRACT

Chemosensory changes are well-reported symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The virus targets cells for entry by binding of its spike protein to cell-surface angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). It is not known whether ACE2 is expressed on taste receptor cells (TRCs), or whether TRCs are infected directly. in situ hybridization probe and an antibody specific to ACE2 indicated presence of ACE2 on a subpopulation of TRCs (namely, type II cells in taste buds in taste papillae). Fungiform papillae of a SARS-CoV-2+ patient exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including taste changes, were biopsied. Presence of replicating SARS-CoV-2 in type II cells was verified by in situ hybridization. Therefore, taste type II cells provide a potential portal for viral entry that predicts vulnerabilities to SARS-CoV-2 in the oral cavity. The continuity and cell turnover of a patient's fungiform papillae taste stem cell layer were disrupted during infection and had not completely recovered 6 weeks after symptom onset. Another patient experiencing post-COVID-19 taste disturbances also had disrupted stem cells. These results demonstrate the possibility that novel and sudden taste changes, frequently reported in COVID-19, may be the result of direct infection of taste papillae by SARS-CoV-2. This may result in impaired taste receptor stem cell activity and suggest that further work is needed to understand the acute and postacute dynamics of viral kinetics in the human taste bud.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19 , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Stem Cells , Taste Buds , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Stem Cells/enzymology , Stem Cells/pathology , Stem Cells/virology , Taste Buds/enzymology , Taste Buds/pathology , Taste Buds/virology
4.
Adv Biol Regul ; 81: 100820, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351735

ABSTRACT

The article describes the possible pathophysiological origin of COVID-19 and the crucial role of renin-angiotensin system (RAS), providing several "converging" evidence in support of this hypothesis. SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to initially upregulate ACE2 systemic activity (early phase), which can subsequently induce compensatory responses leading to upregulation of both arms of the RAS (late phase) and consequently to critical, advanced and untreatable stages of COVID-19 disease. The main and initial actors of the process are ACE2 and ADAM17 zinc-metalloproteases, which, initially triggered by SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins, work together in increasing circulating Ang 1-7 and Ang 1-9 peptides and downstream (Mas and Angiotensin type 2 receptors) pathways with anti-inflammatory, hypotensive and antithrombotic activities. During the late phase of severe COVID-19, compensatory secretion of renin and ACE enzymes are subsequently upregulated, leading to inflammation, hypertension and thrombosis, which further sustain ACE2 and ADAM17 upregulation. Based on this hypothesis, COVID-19-phase-specific inhibition of different RAS enzymes is proposed as a pharmacological strategy against COVID-19 and vaccine-induced adverse effects. The aim is to prevent the establishment of positive feedback-loops, which can sustain hyperactivity of both arms of the RAS independently of viral trigger and, in some cases, may lead to Long-COVID syndrome.


Subject(s)
ADAM17 Protein/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/metabolism , Renin-Angiotensin System , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , ADAM17 Protein/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin I/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , COVID-19/drug therapy , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Humans , Peptide Fragments/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Up-Regulation
5.
Am J Pathol ; 191(9): 1610-1623, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1316372

ABSTRACT

Despite occasional reports of vertical transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during pregnancy, the question of placental infection and its consequences for the newborn remain unanswered. Herein, we analyzed the placentas of 31 coronavirus disease 2019-positive mothers by reverse transcriptase PCR, immunohistochemistry, and in situ hybridization. Only one case of placental infection was detected, which was associated with intrauterine demise of the fetus. Differentiated primary trophoblasts were then isolated from nonpathologic human placentas at term, differentiated, and exposed to SARS-CoV-2 virions. Unlike for positive control cells Vero E6, the virus inside cytotrophoblasts and syncytiotrophoblasts or in the supernatant 4 days after infection was undetectable. As a mechanism of defense, we hypothesized that trophoblasts at term do not express angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), the two main host membrane receptors for SARS-CoV-2 entry. The quantification of these proteins in the placenta during pregnancy confirmed the absence of TMPRSS2 at the surface of the syncytium. Surprisingly, a transiently induced experimental expression of TMPRSS2 did not allow the entry or replication of the virus in differentiated trophoblasts. Altogether, these results underline that trophoblasts are not likely to be infected by SARS-CoV-2 at term, but raise concern about preterm infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19 , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Placenta Diseases , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Trophoblasts , Virus Internalization , Adult , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Placenta Diseases/enzymology , Placenta Diseases/pathology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/enzymology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/pathology , Trophoblasts/enzymology , Trophoblasts/pathology
6.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(7): e1009544, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1311290

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged with enhanced pathogenicity and transmissibility, and escape from pre-existing immunity, suggesting first-generation vaccines and monoclonal antibodies may now be less effective. Here we present an approach for preventing clinical sequelae and the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants. First, we affinity matured an angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) decoy protein, achieving 1000-fold binding improvements that extend across a wide range of SARS-CoV-2 variants and distantly related, ACE2-dependent coronaviruses. Next, we demonstrated the expression of this decoy in proximal airway when delivered via intranasal administration of an AAV vector. This intervention significantly diminished clinical and pathologic consequences of SARS-CoV-2 challenge in a mouse model and achieved therapeutic levels of decoy expression at the surface of proximal airways when delivered intranasally to nonhuman primates. Importantly, this long-lasting, passive protection approach is applicable in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and immune-compromised that do not respond well to traditional vaccination. This approach could be useful in combating COVID-19 surges caused by SARS-CoV-2 variants and should be considered as a countermeasure to future pandemics caused by one of the many pre-emergent, ACE2-dependent CoVs that are poised for zoonosis.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19/drug therapy , Dependovirus , Genetic Therapy , Genetic Vectors , SARS-CoV-2 , Administration, Intranasal , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
7.
J Virol ; 95(15): e0032721, 2021 07 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305507

ABSTRACT

The human protein-coding gene ILRUN (inflammation and lipid regulator with UBA-like and NBR1-like domains; previously C6orf106) was identified as a proviral factor for Hendra virus infection and was recently characterized to function as an inhibitor of type I interferon expression. Here, we have utilized transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) to define cellular pathways regulated by ILRUN in the context of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection of Caco-2 cells. We find that inhibition of ILRUN expression by RNA interference alters transcription profiles of numerous cellular pathways, including upregulation of the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor ACE2 and several other members of the renin-angiotensin aldosterone system. In addition, transcripts of the SARS-CoV-2 coreceptors TMPRSS2 and CTSL were also upregulated. Inhibition of ILRUN also resulted in increased SARS-CoV-2 replication, while overexpression of ILRUN had the opposite effect, identifying ILRUN as a novel antiviral factor for SARS-CoV-2 replication. This represents, to our knowledge, the first report of ILRUN as a regulator of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). IMPORTANCE There is no doubt that the current rapid global spread of COVID-19 has had significant and far-reaching impacts on our health and economy and will continue to do so. Research in emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is growing rapidly, with new breakthroughs in the understanding of host-virus interactions to assist with the development of innovative and exciting therapeutic strategies. Here, we present the first evidence that modulation of the human protein-coding gene ILRUN functions as an antiviral factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection, likely through its newly identified role in regulating the expression of SARS-CoV-2 entry receptors ACE2, TMPRSS2, and CTSL. These data improve our understanding of biological pathways that regulate host factors critical to SARS-CoV-2 infection, contributing to the development of antiviral strategies to deal with the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/metabolism , Down-Regulation , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Neoplasm Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Caco-2 Cells , Cathepsin L/biosynthesis , Cathepsin L/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Neoplasm Proteins/genetics , Renin-Angiotensin System , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Vero Cells
8.
Am J Pathol ; 191(9): 1511-1519, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298622

ABSTRACT

Chemosensory changes are well-reported symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The virus targets cells for entry by binding of its spike protein to cell-surface angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). It is not known whether ACE2 is expressed on taste receptor cells (TRCs), or whether TRCs are infected directly. in situ hybridization probe and an antibody specific to ACE2 indicated presence of ACE2 on a subpopulation of TRCs (namely, type II cells in taste buds in taste papillae). Fungiform papillae of a SARS-CoV-2+ patient exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including taste changes, were biopsied. Presence of replicating SARS-CoV-2 in type II cells was verified by in situ hybridization. Therefore, taste type II cells provide a potential portal for viral entry that predicts vulnerabilities to SARS-CoV-2 in the oral cavity. The continuity and cell turnover of a patient's fungiform papillae taste stem cell layer were disrupted during infection and had not completely recovered 6 weeks after symptom onset. Another patient experiencing post-COVID-19 taste disturbances also had disrupted stem cells. These results demonstrate the possibility that novel and sudden taste changes, frequently reported in COVID-19, may be the result of direct infection of taste papillae by SARS-CoV-2. This may result in impaired taste receptor stem cell activity and suggest that further work is needed to understand the acute and postacute dynamics of viral kinetics in the human taste bud.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19 , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Stem Cells , Taste Buds , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Stem Cells/enzymology , Stem Cells/pathology , Stem Cells/virology , Taste Buds/enzymology , Taste Buds/pathology , Taste Buds/virology
9.
Genes (Basel) ; 12(7)2021 07 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295803

ABSTRACT

The virus responsible for the COVID-19 global health crisis, SARS-CoV-2, has been shown to utilize the ACE2 protein as an entry point to its target cells. The virus has been shown to rely on the actions of TMPRSS2 (a serine protease), as well as FURIN (a peptidase), for the critical priming of its spike protein. It has been postulated that variations in the sequence and expression of SARS-CoV-2's receptor (ACE2) and the two priming proteases (TMPRSS2 and FURIN) may be critical in contributing to SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. This study aims to examine the different expression levels of FURIN in various tissues and age ranges in light of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression levels using the LungMAP database. Furthermore, we retrieved expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) of the three genes and their annotation. We analyzed the frequency of the retrieved variants in data from various populations and compared it to the Egyptian population. We highlight FURIN's potential interplay with the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and showcase a myriad of variants of the three genes that are differentially expressed across populations. Our findings provide insights into potential genetic factors that impact SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in different populations and shed light on the varying expression patterns of FURIN.


Subject(s)
Alleles , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Databases, Nucleic Acid , Furin , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Gene Frequency , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/genetics , Computational Biology , Female , Furin/biosynthesis , Furin/genetics , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
10.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(7): e1009723, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295527

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 uses the human ACE2 (hACE2) receptor for cell attachment and entry, with mouse ACE2 (mACE2) unable to support infection. Herein we describe an ACE2-lentivirus system and illustrate its utility for in vitro and in vivo SARS-CoV-2 infection models. Transduction of non-permissive cell lines with hACE2 imparted replication competence, and transduction with mACE2 containing N30D, N31K, F83Y and H353K substitutions, to match hACE2, rescued SARS-CoV-2 replication. Intrapulmonary hACE2-lentivirus transduction of C57BL/6J mice permitted significant virus replication in lung epithelium. RNA-Seq and histological analyses illustrated that this model involved an acute inflammatory disease followed by resolution and tissue repair, with a transcriptomic profile similar to that seen in COVID-19 patients. hACE2-lentivirus transduction of IFNAR-/- and IL-28RA-/- mouse lungs was used to illustrate that loss of type I or III interferon responses have no significant effect on virus replication. However, their importance in driving inflammatory responses was illustrated by RNA-Seq analyses. We also demonstrate the utility of the hACE2-lentivirus transduction system for vaccine evaluation in C57BL/6J mice. The ACE2-lentivirus system thus has broad application in SARS-CoV-2 research, providing a tool for both mutagenesis studies and mouse model development.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Gene Expression Profiling , Lentivirus , SARS-CoV-2 , Transduction, Genetic , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mice , Mice, Knockout , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vero Cells
12.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(8): 1925-1939, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266906

ABSTRACT

Background: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) allow entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into host cells and play essential roles in cancer therapy. However, the functions of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in kidney cancer remain unclear, especially as kidneys are targets for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Methods: UCSC Xena project, the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) databases (GSE30589 and GSE59185) were searched for gene expression in human tissues, gene expression data, and clinical information. Several bioinformatics methods were utilized to analyze the correlation between ACE2 and TMPRSS2 with respect to the prognosis of kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC) and kidney renal papillary cell carcinoma (KIRP). Results: ACE2 expression was significantly upregulated in tumor tissue, while its downregulation was associated with low survival in KIRC and KIRP patients. TMPRSS2 was downregulated in KIRC and KIRP, and its expression was not correlated with patient survival. According to clinical risk factor-based prediction models, ACE2 exhibits predictive accuracy for kidney cancer prognosis and is correlated with metabolism and immune infiltration. In an animal model, ACE2 expression was remarkably downregulated in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells compared to in the control. Conclusion: ACE2 expression is highly correlated with various metabolic pathways and is involved in immune infiltration.it plays a crucial role than TMPRSS2 in diagnosing and prognosis of kidney cancer patients. The overlap in ACE2 expression between kidney cancer and SARS-CoV-2 infection suggests that patients with KIRC or KIRP are at high risk of developing serious symptoms.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/complications , Carcinoma, Renal Cell/complications , Kidney Neoplasms/complications , Receptors, Virus/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , Animals , Carcinoma, Renal Cell/immunology , Carcinoma, Renal Cell/metabolism , Carcinoma, Renal Cell/mortality , Chlorocebus aethiops , Down-Regulation , Drug Resistance, Neoplasm , Female , Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic , Gene Regulatory Networks , Humans , Kaplan-Meier Estimate , Kidney Neoplasms/immunology , Kidney Neoplasms/metabolism , Kidney Neoplasms/mortality , Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Animal , Neoplasm Proteins/biosynthesis , Neoplasm Proteins/genetics , Organ Specificity , Prognosis , Proportional Hazards Models , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/physiology , Tissue Array Analysis , Vero Cells
13.
Cell Biochem Funct ; 39(6): 713-726, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1251912

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a pandemic that is claiming hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) is a key player in COVID-19 due to its pivotal role in the SARS-CoV-2 infection. This enzyme is expressed throughout the body and the studies conducted so far have shown that its expression varies according to several factors, including cell type, sex, age, disease states and probably SARS-CoV-2 infection. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone post-translational modifications and microRNAs, impact ACE2 expression and may explain structural variation. The understanding of how genetic variants and epigenetic markers act to control ACE2 expression in health and disease states may contribute to comprehend several aspects of COVID-19 that are puzzling researchers and clinicians. This review collects and appraises the literature regarding some aspects in the ACE2 biology, the expression patterns of this molecule, SNPs of the ACE2 gene and epigenetic mechanisms that may impact ACE2 expression in the context of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , DNA Methylation , Epigenesis, Genetic , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Female , Histones/genetics , Histones/metabolism , Humans , Male , Protein Processing, Post-Translational
15.
Physiol Rep ; 9(9): e14854, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1229494

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 uptake by lung epithelial cells is a critical step in the pathogenesis of COVID-19. Viral entry is dependent on the binding of the viral spike protein to the angiotensin converting enzyme II protein (ACE2) on the host cell surface, followed by proteolytic cleavage by a host serine protease such as TMPRSS2. Infection of alveolar epithelial cells (AEC) in the distal lung is a key feature in progression to the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). We hypothesized that AEC expression of ACE2 is induced by hypoxia. In a murine model of hypoxic stress (12% FiO2), the total lung Ace2 mRNA and protein expression was significantly increased after 24 hours in hypoxia compared to normoxia (21% FiO2). In experiments with primary murine type II AEC, we found that exposure to hypoxia either in vivo (prior to isolation) or in vitro resulted in greatly increased AEC expression of both Ace2 (mRNA and protein) and of Tmprss2. However, when isolated type II AEC were maintained in culture over 5 days, with loss of type II cell characteristics and induction of type I cell features, Ace2 expression was greatly reduced, suggesting that this expression was a feature of only this subset of AEC. Finally, in primary human small airway epithelial cells (SAEC), ACE2 mRNA and protein expression were also induced by hypoxia, as was binding to purified spike protein. Hypoxia-induced increase in ACE2 expression in type II AEC may provide an explanation of the extended temporal course of human patients who develop ARDS in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Acute Lung Injury/enzymology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/enzymology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/enzymology , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Hypoxia/enzymology , Acute Lung Injury/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Cells, Cultured , Female , Humans , Hypoxia/genetics , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL
17.
Cardiovasc Diabetol ; 20(1): 99, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219133

ABSTRACT

RATIONALE: About 50% of hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) developed myocardial damage. The mechanisms of direct SARS-CoV-2 cardiomyocyte infection include viral invasion via ACE2-Spike glycoprotein-binding. In DM patients, the impact of glycation of ACE2 on cardiomyocyte invasion by SARS-CoV-2 can be of high importance. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in cardiomyocytes from heart autopsy of DM cases compared to Non-DM; to investigate the role of DM in SARS-COV-2 entry in cardiomyocytes. METHODS AND RESULTS: We evaluated consecutive autopsy cases, deceased for COVID-19, from Italy between Apr 30, 2020 and Jan 18, 2021. We evaluated SARS-CoV-2 in cardiomyocytes, expression of ACE2 (total and glycosylated form), and transmembrane protease serine protease-2 (TMPRSS2) protein. In order to study the role of diabetes on cardiomyocyte alterations, independently of COVID-19, we investigated ACE2, glycosylated ACE2, and TMPRSS2 proteins in cardiomyocytes from DM and Non-DM explanted-hearts. Finally, to investigate the effects of DM on ACE2 protein modification, an in vitro glycation study of recombinant human ACE2 (hACE2) was performed to evaluate the effects on binding to SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. The authors included cardiac tissue from 97 autopsies. DM was diagnosed in 37 patients (38%). Fourth-seven out of 97 autopsies (48%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cardiomyocytes. Thirty out of 37 DM autopsy cases (81%) and 17 out of 60 Non-DM autopsy cases (28%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cardiomyocytes. Total ACE2, glycosylated ACE2, and TMPRSS2 protein expressions were higher in cardiomyocytes from autopsied and explanted hearts of DM than Non-DM. In vitro exposure of monomeric hACE2 to 120 mM glucose for 12 days led to non-enzymatic glycation of four lysine residues in the neck domain affecting the protein oligomerization. CONCLUSIONS: The upregulation of ACE2 expression (total and glycosylated forms) in DM cardiomyocytes, along with non-enzymatic glycation, could increase the susceptibility to COVID-19 infection in DM patients by favouring the cellular entry of SARS-CoV2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus/metabolism , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , Autopsy , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , Cohort Studies , Diabetes Mellitus/pathology , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Myocytes, Cardiac/pathology , Protein Binding/physiology , Protein Structure, Secondary
18.
Biochem Pharmacol ; 188: 114564, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1188321

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 is the pathogenetic agent of Corona Virus Induced Disease (COVID)19. The virus enters the human cells after binding to the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)2 receptor in target tissues. ACE2 expression is induced in response to inflammation. The colon expression of ACE2 is upregulated in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), highlighting a potential risk of intestinal inflammation in promoting viral entry in the human body. Because mechanisms that regulate ACE2 expression in the intestine are poorly understood and there is a need of anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapies, we have settled to investigate whether natural flavonoids might regulate the expression of Ace2 in intestinal models of inflammation. The results of these studies demonstrated that pelargonidin activates the Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) in vitro and reverses intestinal inflammation caused by chronic exposure to high fat diet or to the intestinal braking-barrier agent TNBS in a AhR-dependent manner. In these two models, development of colon inflammation associated with upregulation of Ace2 mRNA expression. Colon levels of Ace2 mRNA were directly correlated with Tnf-α mRNA levels. Molecular docking studies suggested that pelargonidin binds a fatty acid binding pocket on the receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. In vitro studies demonstrated that pelargonidin significantly reduces the binding of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein to ACE2 and reduces the SARS-CoV-2 replication in a concentration-dependent manner. In summary, we have provided evidence that a natural flavonoid might hold potential in reducing intestinal inflammation and ACE2 induction in the inflamed colon in a AhR-dependent manner.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Anthocyanins/pharmacology , Drug Discovery/methods , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon/agonists , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Anthocyanins/chemistry , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Hep G2 Cells , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Mice, Transgenic , Protein Structure, Secondary , Protein Structure, Tertiary , Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vero Cells
19.
Environ Toxicol Pharmacol ; 86: 103656, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1171468

ABSTRACT

Evidence in humans suggests a correlation between nicotine smoking and severe respiratory symptoms with COVID-19 infection. In lung tissue, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) appears to mechanistically underlie viral entry. Here, we investigated whether e-cigarette vapor inhalation alters ACE2 and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) expression in male and female mice. In male lung, nicotine vapor inhalation induced a significant increase in ACE2 mRNA and protein, but surprisingly, these differences were not found in females. Further, both vehicle and nicotine vapor inhalation downregulated α5 nAChR subunits in both sexes, while differences were not found in α7 nAChR subunit expression. Finally, blood ACE2 levels did not differ with exposure, indicating that blood sampling is not a sufficient indicator of lung ACE2 changes. Together, these data indicate a direct link between e-cigarette vaping and increased ACE2 expression in male lung tissue, which thereby reveals an underlying mechanism of increased vulnerability to coronavirus infection in individuals vaping nicotine.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems , Lung/enzymology , Vaping/adverse effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/blood , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , DNA, Complementary/biosynthesis , Female , Lung/cytology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Nicotine/administration & dosage , Nicotine/pharmacology , Nicotinic Agonists/administration & dosage , Nicotinic Agonists/pharmacology , Receptors, Nicotinic/biosynthesis , Sex Characteristics , alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor/metabolism
20.
Environ Toxicol Pharmacol ; 86: 103657, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1171444

ABSTRACT

Diesel exhaust particles (DEP) are the major components of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) and chronic exposure is recognized to enhance respiratory system complications. Although the spread of SARS-CoV-2 was found to be associated with the PMs, the mechanism by which exposure to DEP increases the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is still under discussion. However, diesel fine PM (dPM) elevate the probability of SARS-CoV-2 infection, as it coincides with the increase in the number of ACE2 receptors. Expression of ACE2 and its colocalized activator, transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) facilitate the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the alveolar epithelial cells exposed to dPM. Thus, the coexistence of PM and SARS-CoV-2 in the environment augments inflammation and exacerbates lung damage. Increased TGF-ß1 expression due to DEP accompanies the proliferation of the extracellular matrix. In this case, "multifocal ground-glass opacity" (GGO) in a CT scan is an indication of a cytokine storm and severe pneumonia in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution/adverse effects , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/epidemiology , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Vehicle Emissions/toxicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Humans , Particulate Matter , Tomography, X-Ray Computed
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