Expressions and significances of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 gene, the receptor of SARS-CoV-2 for COVID-19.Mol Biol Rep. 2020 Jun; 47(6):4383-4392.MB
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.