The scRNA-seq Expression Profiling of the Receptor ACE2 and the Cellular Protease TMPRSS2 Reveals Human Organs Susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 Infection.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 01 02; 18(1)IJ
COVID-19 patients always develop multiple organ dysfunction syndromes other than lungs, suggesting the novel virus SARS-CoV-2 also invades other organs. Therefore, studying the viral susceptibility of other organs is important for a deeper understanding of viral pathogenesis. Angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) is the receptor protein of SARS-CoV-2, and TMPRSS2 promotes virus proliferation and transmission. We investigated the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression levels of cell types from 31 organs to evaluate the risk of viral infection using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data. For the first time, we found that the gall bladder and fallopian tube are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Besides, the nose, heart, small intestine, large intestine, esophagus, brain, testis, and kidney are also identified to be high-risk organs with high expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2. Moreover, the susceptible organs are grouped into three risk levels based on the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression. As a result, the respiratory system, digestive system, and urinary system are at the top-risk level for SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study provides evidence for SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, and urinary system using scRNA-seq data, which helps in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of patients.