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1.
Front Mol Biosci ; 7: 569414, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1793002

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first detected in patients with pneumonia in December 2019 in China and it spread rapidly to the rest of the world becoming a global pandemic. Several observational studies have reported that cancer is a risk factor for COVID-19. On the other hand, ACE2, a receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, was found to be aberrantly expressed in many tumors. However, the characterization of aberrant ACE2 expression in malignant tumors has not been elucidated. Here, we conducted a systematic analysis of the ACE2 expression profile across 31 types of tumors. METHODS: Distribution of ACE2 expression was analyzed using the GTEx, CCLE, TCGA pan-cancer databases. We evaluated the effect of ACE2 on clinical prognosis using the Kaplan-Meier survival plot and COX regression analysis. Correlation between ACE2 and immune infiltration levels was investigated in various cancer types. Additionally, the correlation between ACE2 and immune neoantigen, TMB, microsatellite instability, Mismatch Repair Genes (MMRs), HLA gene members, and DNA Methyltransferase (DNMT) was investigated. The frequency of ACE2 gene mutation in various tumors was analyzed. Functional enrichment analysis was conducted in various cancer types using the GSEA method. RESULTS: In normal tissues, ACE2 was highly expressed in almost all 31 organs tested. In cancer cell lines, the expression level of ACE2 was low to medium. Although aberrant expression was observed in most cancer types, high expression of ACE2 was not linked to OS, DFS, RFS, and DFI in most tumors in TCGA pan-cancer data. We found that ACE2 expression was significantly correlated with the infiltrating levels of macrophages and dendritic cells, CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and B cells in multiple tumors. A positive correlation between ACE2 expression and immune neoantigen, TMB, and microsatellite instability was found in multiple cancers. GSEA analysis which was carried out to determine the effect of ACE2 on tumors indicated that several cancer-associated pathways and immune-related pathways were hyperactivated in the high ACE2 expression group of most tumors. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that ACE2 is not correlated with prognosis in most cancer types. However, elevated ACE2 is significantly correlated with immune infiltrating levels, including those of CD8+ T cells, CD4+ T cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and DCs in multiple cancers, especially in lung and breast cancer patients. These findings suggest that ACE2 may affect the tumor environment in cancer patients with COVID-19.

2.
J Med Virol ; 93(9): 5487-5504, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1733919

ABSTRACT

Along with the control and prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 transmission, infected animals might have potential to carry the virus to spark new outbreaks. However, very few studies explore the susceptibility of animals to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Viral attachment as a crucial step for cross-species infection requires angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor and depends on TMPRSS2 protease activity. Here, we searched the genomes of metazoans from different classes using an extensive BLASTP survey and found ACE2 and TMPRSS2 occur in vertebrates, but some vertebrates lack Tmprss2. We identified 6 amino acids among 25 known human ACE2 residues are highly associated with the binding of ACE2 to SARS-CoV-2 (p value < .01) by Fisher exact test, and following this, calculated the probability of viral attachment within each species by the randomForest function from R randomForest library. Furthermore, we observed that Ace2 selected from seven animals based on the above analysis lack the hydrophobic contacts identified on human ACE2, indicating less affinity of SARS-CoV-2 to Ace2 in animals than humans. Finally, the alignment of 3D structure between human ACE2 and other animals by I-TASSER and TM-align displayed a reasonable structure for viral attachment within these species. Taken together, our data may shed light on the human-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vertebrates/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Disease Susceptibility , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Humans , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vertebrates/genetics , Virus Attachment , Virus Internalization , Virus Release
3.
J Infect Dis ; 224(Supplement_6): S642-S646, 2021 Dec 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559852

ABSTRACT

We previously demonstrated that the late gestation placental expression pattern of ACE2 (the primary severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2] receptor) is localized to the villous syncytiotrophoblast (ST), usually in a polarized membranous pattern at the ST base sparing the apical surface (that directly exposed to maternal blood). We found that the late gestation placental expression pattern of TMPRSS2 (the spike proteinase required for SARS-CoV-2 cellular infection), is usually absent in the trophoblast but is rarely, weakly expressed in the placental endothelium. We now show the developmental protein expression patterns of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 by immunohistochemistry throughout gestation, from the first through third trimester. We found that TMPRSS2 expression was rarely detectable in villous endothelium and very rarely detectable in the ST across gestation. We found that ACE2 expression varied during gestation with circumferential ST expression more common in early gestations and polarized expression more common in later gestation. Although this study is small, these preliminary results suggest that earlier gestation pregnancies may be more vulnerable to infection than later gestation pregnancies.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19 , Placenta/metabolism , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Female , Gestational Age , Humans , Placenta/virology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/metabolism , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/pathology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Trophoblasts
4.
Mayo Clin Proc ; 95(7): 1354-1368, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500136

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To explore the transcriptomic differences between patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and controls. PATIENTS AND METHODS: RNA was extracted from cardiac tissue flash frozen at therapeutic surgical septal myectomy for 106 patients with HCM and 39 healthy donor hearts. Expression profiling of 37,846 genes was performed using the Illumina Human HT-12v3 Expression BeadChip. All patients with HCM were genotyped for pathogenic variants causing HCM. Technical validation was performed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blot. This study was started on January 1, 1999, and final analysis was completed on April 20, 2020. RESULTS: Overall, 22% of the transcriptome (8443 of 37,846 genes) was expressed differentially between HCM and control tissues. Analysis by genotype revealed that gene expression changes were similar among genotypic subgroups of HCM, with only 4% (1502 of 37,846) to 6% (2336 of 37,846) of the transcriptome exhibiting differential expression between genotypic subgroups. The qRT-PCR confirmed differential expression in 92% (11 of 12 genes) of tested transcripts. Notably, in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the transcript for angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a negative regulator of the angiotensin system, was the single most up-regulated gene in HCM (fold-change, 3.53; q-value =1.30×10-23), which was confirmed by qRT-PCR in triplicate (fold change, 3.78; P=5.22×10-4), and Western blot confirmed greater than 5-fold overexpression of ACE2 protein (fold change, 5.34; P=1.66×10-6). CONCLUSION: More than 20% of the transcriptome is expressed differentially between HCM and control tissues. Importantly, ACE2 was the most up-regulated gene in HCM, indicating perhaps the heart's compensatory effort to mount an antihypertrophic, antifibrotic response. However, given that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses ACE2 for viral entry, this 5-fold increase in ACE2 protein may confer increased risk for COVID-19 manifestations and outcomes in patients with increased ACE2 transcript expression and protein levels in the heart.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic/genetics , Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic/virology , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic/metabolism , Case-Control Studies , Child , Genotype , Humans , Middle Aged , Myocardium/metabolism , Pandemics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
5.
J Nucl Med ; 62(11): 1631-1637, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496930

ABSTRACT

In this study, we developed angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)-specific, peptide-derived 68Ga-labeled radiotracers, motivated by the hypotheses that ACE2 is an important determinant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) susceptibility and that modulation of ACE2 in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) drives severe organ injury. Methods: A series of NOTA-conjugated peptides derived from the known ACE2 inhibitor DX600 were synthesized, with variable linker identity. Since DX600 bears 2 cystine residues, both linear and cyclic peptides were studied. An ACE2 inhibition assay was used to identify lead compounds, which were labeled with 68Ga to generate peptide radiotracers (68Ga-NOTA-PEP). The aminocaproate-derived radiotracer 68Ga-NOTA-PEP4 was subsequently studied in a humanized ACE2 (hACE2) transgenic model. Results: Cyclic DX-600-derived peptides had markedly lower half-maximal inhibitory concentrations than their linear counterparts. The 3 cyclic peptides with triglycine, aminocaproate, and polyethylene glycol linkers had calculated half-maximal inhibitory concentrations similar to or lower than the parent DX600 molecule. Peptides were readily labeled with 68Ga, and the biodistribution of 68Ga-NOTA-PEP4 was determined in an hACE2 transgenic murine cohort. Pharmacologic concentrations of coadministered NOTA-PEP (blocking) showed a significant reduction of 68Ga-NOTA-PEP4 signals in the heart, liver, lungs, and small intestine. Ex vivo hACE2 activity in these organs was confirmed as a correlate to in vivo results. Conclusion: NOTA-conjugated cyclic peptides derived from the known ACE2 inhibitor DX600 retain their activity when N-conjugated for 68Ga chelation. In vivo studies in a transgenic hACE2 murine model using the lead tracer, 68Ga-NOTA-PEP4, showed specific binding in the heart, liver, lungs and intestine-organs known to be affected in SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results suggest that 68Ga-NOTA-PEP4 could be used to detect organ-specific suppression of ACE2 in SARS-CoV-2-infected murine models and COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Gallium Radioisotopes/chemistry , Peptides, Cyclic , Animals , Male , Mice , Positron-Emission Tomography , Tissue Distribution
6.
J Virol ; 95(13): e0019221, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486499

ABSTRACT

Understanding factors that affect the infectivity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is central to combatting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus surface spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 mediates viral entry into cells by binding to the ACE2 receptor on epithelial cells and promoting fusion. We found that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) induces ACE2 expression when it enters the lytic replicative cycle in epithelial cells. By using vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) particles pseudotyped with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, we showed that lytic EBV replication enhances ACE2-dependent SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry. We found that the ACE2 promoter contains response elements for Zta, an EBV transcriptional activator that is essential for EBV entry into the lytic cycle of replication. Zta preferentially acts on methylated promoters, allowing it to reactivate epigenetically silenced EBV promoters from latency. By using promoter assays, we showed that Zta directly activates methylated ACE2 promoters. Infection of normal oral keratinocytes with EBV leads to lytic replication in some of the infected cells, induces ACE2 expression, and enhances SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry. These data suggest that subclinical EBV replication and lytic gene expression in epithelial cells, which is ubiquitous in the human population, may enhance the efficiency and extent of SARS-CoV-2 infection of epithelial cells by transcriptionally activating ACE2 and increasing its cell surface expression. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, has caused a pandemic leading to millions of infections and deaths worldwide. Identifying the factors governing susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 is important in order to develop strategies to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. We show that Epstein-Barr virus, which infects and persists in >90% of adult humans, increases susceptibility of epithelial cells to infection by SARS-CoV-2. EBV, when it reactivates from latency or infects epithelial cells, increases expression of ACE2, the cellular receptor for SARS-CoV-2, enhancing infection by SARS-CoV-2. Inhibiting EBV replication with antivirals may therefore decrease susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Epithelial Cells/virology , Herpesvirus 4, Human/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Cell Line , DNA Methylation , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Promoter Regions, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Trans-Activators/metabolism , Virus Activation
7.
Infect Disord Drug Targets ; 21(4): 480-483, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435869

ABSTRACT

Ocular tissues can serve as a reservoir for the SARS-CoV-2 virus which can not only cause conjunctivitis but also serve as a source of infection transmission to others. Additionally, the eye and its tear drainage apparatus can track the SARS-CoV-2 from the eye into the respiratory tract of the patient. The potential ocular presence of the SARS-CoV-2 in the eye of a patient can target ACE2 receptors in the endothelium of the conjunctival vessels and use the lacrimal sac a potential space to evade immune detection and clinical isolation. The recently reported case of COVID-19 after the acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 from a COVID-19 patient should alert the healthcare professionals dealing with COVID-19 patients that wearing masks alone cannot guarantee protection against infection transmission. Further studies, like isolation of SARS-CoV-2 from the eyes of patients with COVID-19, are needed to identify the eyes as a potential source of SARS-CoV-2 infection transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Conjunctiva , Humans , Masks , SARS-CoV-2
8.
J Med Virol ; 93(10): 5908-5916, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432424

ABSTRACT

The main entry receptor of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). SARS-CoV-2 interactions with ACE2 may increase ectodomain shedding but consequences for the renin-angiotensin system and pathology in Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remain unclear. We measured soluble ACE2 (sACE2) and sACE levels by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 114 hospital-treated COVID-19 patients compared with 10 healthy controls; follow-up samples after four months were analyzed for 58 patients. Associations between sACE2 respectively sACE and risk factors for severe COVID-19, outcome, and inflammatory markers were investigated. Levels of sACE2 were higher in COVID-19 patients than in healthy controls, median 5.0 (interquartile range 2.8-11.8) ng/ml versus 1.4 (1.1-1.6) ng/ml, p < .0001. sACE2 was higher in men than women but was not affected by other risk factors for severe COVID-19. sACE2 decreased to 2.3 (1.6-3.9) ng/ml at follow-up, p < .0001, but remained higher than in healthy controls, p = .012. sACE was marginally lower during COVID-19 compared with at follow-up, 57 (45-70) ng/ml versus 72 (52-87) ng/ml, p = .008. Levels of sACE2 and sACE did not differ depending on survival or disease severity. sACE2 during COVID-19 correlated with von Willebrand factor, factor VIII and D-dimer, while sACE correlated with interleukin 6, tumor necrosis factor α, and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1. Conclusions: sACE2 was transiently elevated in COVID-19, likely due to increased shedding from infected cells. sACE2 and sACE during COVID-19 differed in correlations with markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, suggesting release from different cell types and/or vascular beds.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/blood , COVID-19/blood , Adult , Aged , Biomarkers/blood , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Inflammation , Male , Middle Aged , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/blood , Renin-Angiotensin System , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Cardiovasc Hematol Disord Drug Targets ; 20(3): 181-184, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435708

ABSTRACT

Nowadays Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) is increasing mortality all over the world mercilessly. We are learning almost every day about its new symptoms and that it mutates quickly. This disease has tied us up and made us desperate. The death rate from this disease has increased in patients who had pre-existing medical conditions, especially cardiovascular ones, by eliminating the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-2 receptor in the lungs. Also, ACE1 and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) may stimulate ACE2 expression and worse the prognosis. Intravenous infusions of ACEIs and ARBs in experimental animals increase the number of ACE2 receptors. Therefore, it may be one of the reasons that COVID-19 infects the cells of patients treating hypertension. However, most of the congress of cardiology do not recommend to discontinue these anti-hypertensive drugs. Therefore, this brief report evaluates Covid-19 in the view of cardiovascular diseases taking into account current reports and suggests some possible solutions to keep the virus under control.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology , Age Factors , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Animals , Antihypertensive Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/mortality , Cardiovascular Diseases/metabolism , Humans , Hypertension/drug therapy , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Thromboembolism/etiology , Thromboembolism/physiopathology
10.
Int J Infect Dis ; 103: 378-380, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385705

ABSTRACT

We analyzed the expression of ACE2 in the pharyngeal epithelium and examined its relationship with clinical features and serological parameters in patients with upper respiratory infection (URI). The expression level of the ACE2 gene was significantly higher in patients with URI (n = 125) than in healthy control (HC) individuals (n = 52) (p < 0.0001). The ACE2 gene expression level was significantly and positively correlated with age (r=0.1799, p = 0.0447) and body temperature (r=0.1927, p = 0.0427), which may help explain increasing coinfections with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Pharynx/enzymology , Respiratory Tract Infections/enzymology , Respiratory Tract Infections/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/enzymology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Female , Gene Expression , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
11.
Sci Adv ; 7(1)2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388432

ABSTRACT

Using AI, we identified baricitinib as having antiviral and anticytokine efficacy. We now show a 71% (95% CI 0.15 to 0.58) mortality benefit in 83 patients with moderate-severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia with few drug-induced adverse events, including a large elderly cohort (median age, 81 years). An additional 48 cases with mild-moderate pneumonia recovered uneventfully. Using organotypic 3D cultures of primary human liver cells, we demonstrate that interferon-α2 increases ACE2 expression and SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in parenchymal cells by greater than fivefold. RNA-seq reveals gene response signatures associated with platelet activation, fully inhibited by baricitinib. Using viral load quantifications and superresolution microscopy, we found that baricitinib exerts activity rapidly through the inhibition of host proteins (numb-associated kinases), uniquely among antivirals. This reveals mechanistic actions of a Janus kinase-1/2 inhibitor targeting viral entry, replication, and the cytokine storm and is associated with beneficial outcomes including in severely ill elderly patients, data that incentivize further randomized controlled trials.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Azetidines/pharmacology , COVID-19/mortality , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Janus Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , Liver/virology , Purines/pharmacology , Pyrazoles/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Cytokines/metabolism , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Interferon alpha-2/metabolism , Italy , Janus Kinases/metabolism , Liver/drug effects , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Safety , Platelet Activation , Proportional Hazards Models , RNA-Seq , Spain , Virus Internalization/drug effects
12.
Andrology ; 9(1): 39-41, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388168

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The recent report of SARS-CoV-2 presence in semen samples of six patients, including two subjects who were recovering from the clinical disease, re-opened the discussion on possible male genital tract infection, virus shedding in semen, sexual transmission and safety of fertility treatments during the pandemic period. OBJECTIVES: To explore current data and hypothesis on the possible sites of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the male reproduction system. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We reviewed the current literature to describe: a) the evidences on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (AC2E) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) expression in the testes, accessory glands (including prostate) and the urinary tract; b) other coronaviruses' (SARS and MERS) ability to infect these sites. RESULTS: The co-expression of both ACE2 and TMPRSS2 genes was reported in spermatogonial stem cells, elongated spermatids, in at least a small percentage of prostate hillock cells and in renal tubular cells. Testicular damage was described in autopsies of SARS patients, without evidence of the virus in the specimens. Prostate is a known infection site for MERS-CoV. SARS-CoV-2 was detected in urines. DISCUSSION: There are still al lot of open questions on the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the male reproductive tract. The presence of receptors is not a proof that the testis provides a site for viral infection and it is still unknown if SARS-CoV-2 is capable to pass the blood-testis barrier. The possibility of a prostate involvement has not been investigated yet: we have no data, but theoretically it cannot be excluded. Moreover, the RNA detected in semen could have been just a residual of urinary shedding. CONCLUSION: Opening our prospective beyond the testis could be the key to better understand the possibility of a semen-related viral transmission as well as COVID19 short and long-term effects on male reproductive function.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Semen/virology , Testis/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Male , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Testis/metabolism , Testis/pathology , Virus Internalization , Virus Shedding
13.
Brief Bioinform ; 22(2): 1006-1022, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387712

ABSTRACT

Interaction of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein with the ACE2 cell receptor is very crucial for virus attachment to human cells. Selected mutations in SARS-CoV-2 S-protein are reported to strengthen its binding affinity to mammalian ACE2. The N501T mutation in SARS-CoV-2-CTD furnishes better support to hotspot 353 in comparison with SARS-CoV and shows higher affinity for receptor binding. Recombination analysis exhibited higher recombination events in SARS-CoV-2 strains, irrespective of their geographical origin or hosts. Investigation further supports a common origin among SARS-CoV-2 and its predecessors, SARS-CoV and bat-SARS-like-CoV. The recombination events suggest a constant exchange of genetic material among the co-infecting viruses in possible reservoirs and human hosts before SARS-CoV-2 emerged. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of codon usage bias (CUB) in SARS-CoV-2 revealed significant CUB among the S-genes of different beta-coronaviruses governed majorly by natural selection and mutation pressure. Various indices of codon usage of S-genes helped in quantifying its adaptability in other animal hosts. These findings might help in identifying potential experimental animal models for investigating pathogenicity for drugs and vaccine development experiments.


Subject(s)
Biological Evolution , Codon Usage , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Humans , Models, Animal , Mutation , RNA, Transfer/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
15.
Viruses ; 12(10)2020 10 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389518

ABSTRACT

To address the expression pattern of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 and the viral priming protease TMPRSS2 in the respiratory tract, this study investigated RNA sequencing transcriptome profiling of samples of airway and oral mucosa. As shown, ACE2 has medium levels of expression in both small airway epithelium and masticatory mucosa, and high levels of expression in nasal epithelium. The expression of ACE2 is low in mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells and cannot be detected in alveolar macrophages. TMPRSS2 is highly expressed in small airway epithelium and nasal epithelium and has lower expression in masticatory mucosa. Our results provide the molecular basis that the nasal mucosa is the most susceptible locus in the respiratory tract for SARS-CoV-2 infection and consequently for subsequent droplet transmission and should be the focus for protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epithelium/metabolism , Epithelium/virology , Gene Expression , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Nasal Mucosa/metabolism , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory System/metabolism , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
16.
Front Pharmacol ; 11: 579330, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389228

ABSTRACT

The Syrian golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) has recently been demonstrated as a clinically relevant animal model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, lack of knowledge about the tissue-specific expression pattern of various proteins in these animals and the unavailability of reagents like antibodies against this species hampers these models' optimal use. The major objective of our current study was to analyze the tissue-specific expression pattern of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, a proven functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2 in different organs of the hamster. Using two different antibodies (MA5-32307 and AF933), we have conducted immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence analysis to evaluate the ACE2 expression in different tissues of the hamster. Further, at the mRNA level, the expression of Ace2 in tissues was evaluated through RT-qPCR analysis. Both the antibodies detected expression of ACE2 in kidney, small intestine, tongue, and liver. Epithelium of proximal tubules of kidney and surface epithelium of ileum expresses a very high amount of this protein. Surprisingly, analysis of stained tissue sections showed no detectable expression of ACE2 in the lung or tracheal epithelial cells. Similarly, all parts of the large intestine were negative for ACE2 expression. Analysis of tissues from different age groups and sex didn't show any obvious difference in ACE2 expression pattern or level. Together, our findings corroborate some of the earlier reports related to ACE2 expression patterns in human tissues and contradict others. We believe that this study's findings have provided evidence that demands further investigation to understand the predominant respiratory pathology of SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease.

17.
Front Mol Biosci ; 7: 568954, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389212

ABSTRACT

Because ACE2 is a host cell receptor of the SARS-CoV-2, an investigation of ACE2 expression in normal and virus-infected human tissues is crucial for understanding the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We identified pathways associated with ACE2 expression and gene co-expression networks of ACE2 in pan-tissue based on the gene expression profiles in normal human tissues. We found that the pathways significantly associated with ACE2 upregulation were mainly involved in immune, stromal signature, metabolism, cell growth and proliferation, and cancer and other diseases. The number of genes having a significant positive expression correlation with ACE2 in females far exceeded that in males. The estrogen receptors (ESR1 and ESR2) and androgen receptor (AR) genes had a significant positive expression correlation with ACE2. Meanwhile, the enrichment levels of immune cells were positively associated with the expression levels of ESR1 and ESR2, while they were inversely associated with the expression levels of AR in pan-tissue and multiple individual tissues. It suggests that females are likely to have a more robust immune defense system against SARS-CoV-2 than males. ACE2 was upregulated in SARS-CoV-2-infected tissues relative to normal tissues and in SARS-CoV-2-infected males relative to females, while its expression levels had no significant difference between healthy females and males. Numerous immune-related pathways were highly enriched in SARS-CoV-2-infected males relative to females. These data indicate that males are more susceptible and more likely to have an excessive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection than females. This study furnishes potentially cues explaining why females have better clinical outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infections than males and warrant further investigation for understanding the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

18.
Front Immunol ; 11: 607314, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389171

ABSTRACT

Acute lung injury (ALI) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality after viral infections, including influenza A virus H1N1, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. The angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a key host membrane-bound protein that modulates ALI induced by viral infection, pulmonary acid aspiration, and sepsis. However, the contributions of ACE2 sequence variants to individual differences in disease risk and severity after viral infection are not understood. In this study, we quantified H1N1 influenza-infected lung transcriptomes across a family of 41 BXD recombinant inbred strains of mice and both parents-C57BL/6J and DBA/2J. In response to infection Ace2 mRNA levels decreased significantly for both parental strains and the expression levels was associated with disease severity (body weight loss) and viral load (expression levels of viral NA segment) across the BXD family members. Pulmonary RNA-seq for 43 lines was analyzed using weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and Bayesian network approaches. Ace2 not only participated in virus-induced ALI by interacting with TNF, MAPK, and NOTCH signaling pathways, but was also linked with high confidence to gene products that have important functions in the pulmonary epithelium, including Rnf128, Muc5b, and Tmprss2. Comparable sets of transcripts were also highlighted in parallel studies of human SARS-CoV-infected primary human airway epithelial cells. Using conventional mapping methods, we determined that weight loss at two and three days after viral infection maps to chromosome X-the location of Ace2. This finding motivated the hierarchical Bayesian network analysis, which defined molecular endophenotypes of lung infection linked to Ace2 expression and to a key disease outcome. Core members of this Bayesian network include Ace2, Atf4, Csf2, Cxcl2, Lif, Maml3, Muc5b, Reg3g, Ripk3, and Traf3. Collectively, these findings define a causally-rooted Ace2 modulatory network relevant to host response to viral infection and identify potential therapeutic targets for virus-induced respiratory diseases, including those caused by influenza and coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Lung/virology , Virus Diseases/genetics , Animals , Bayes Theorem , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Inbred DBA , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Signal Transduction/genetics
19.
J Proteome Res ; 19(12): 4844-4856, 2020 12 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387125

ABSTRACT

Despite considerable research progress on SARS-CoV-2, the direct zoonotic origin (intermediate host) of the virus remains ambiguous. The most definitive approach to identify the intermediate host would be the detection of SARS-CoV-2-like coronaviruses in wild animals. However, due to the high number of animal species, it is not feasible to screen all the species in the laboratory. Given that binding to ACE2 proteins is the first step for the coronaviruses to invade host cells, we propose a computational pipeline to identify potential intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2 by modeling the binding affinity between the Spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) and host ACE2. Using this pipeline, we systematically examined 285 ACE2 variants from mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians, and found that the binding energies calculated for the modeled Spike-RBD/ACE2 complex structures correlated closely with the effectiveness of animal infection as determined by multiple experimental data sets. Built on the optimized binding affinity cutoff, we suggest a set of 96 mammals, including 48 experimentally investigated ones, which are permissive to SARS-CoV-2, with candidates from primates, rodents, and carnivores at the highest risk of infection. Overall, this work not only suggests a limited range of potential intermediate SARS-CoV-2 hosts for further experimental investigation, but also, more importantly, it proposes a new structure-based approach to general zoonotic origin and susceptibility analyses that are critical for human infectious disease control and wildlife protection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Mammals/genetics , Mammals/virology , Pandemics , Protein Binding/genetics , Protein Domains/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Zoonoses/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/virology
20.
Clin Res Cardiol ; 111(2): 154-162, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384408

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) 2 is known to be a functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2 in the current pandemic. Soluble ACE2 (sACE2) concentrations are elevated in patients with various cardiovascular disorders including heart failure. METHODS: In a total of 182 consecutive adult patients with complex congenital heart disease (CHD) and 63 healthy controls, sACE2 concentrations were measured in serum using the Human ACE2® assay by Cloud-Clone Corporation and associated with clinical, laboratory and echocardiographic parameters. RESULTS: Median sACE2 levels were increased in patients with complex CHD as compared to healthy controls (761.9 pg/ml vs 365.2 pg/ml, p < 0.001). Moreover, sACE2 concentrations were significantly elevated in patients with a higher NYHA class ≥ III (1856.2 pg/ml vs 714.5 pg/ml in patients with NYHA class I/II, p < 0.001). Using linear regression analysis, higher sACE2 levels were associated with a higher NYHA class ≥ III, more severe CHD, a morphological left systemic ventricle, higher creatinine and the use of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRA) in the univariable model. The use of ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) was associated with lower sACE2 levels. In the multivariable model, higher sACE2 levels were independently associated with a higher NYHA class ≥ III (p = 0.002) and lower sACE2 levels with the use of ACE inhibitors or ARB (p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: Soluble ACE2 concentrations were significantly increased in all types of complex CHD with highest levels found in patients with NYHA class ≥ III. Moreover, a higher NYHA class ≥ III was the most significant determinant that was independently associated with elevated sACE2 concentrations.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/blood , Heart Defects, Congenital/enzymology , Receptors, Virus/blood , Survivors , Adult , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Female , Heart Defects, Congenital/blood , Heart Defects, Congenital/diagnosis , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Up-Regulation , Virus Internalization , Young Adult
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