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      Localization of Cell Receptor-Related Genes of SARS-CoV-2 in the Kidney through Single-Cell Transcriptome Analysis

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          The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which has been responsible for the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, uses the cell receptor angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) for entry and the serine protease TMPRSS2 for spike (S) protein priming. Meanwhile, the presence of B<sup>0</sup>AT1 (SLC6A19) may prevent TMPRSS2 from accessing the cutting position on ACE2. Identifying the expression of these cell receptor-related genes of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for understanding the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 in various tissues, especially in the kidney.


          The single-cell transcription datasets of the human cell landscape (HCL) and other relevant single-cell transcription databases were used to analyze the expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and SLC6A19 in various organs and tissues, but mainly in the kidney.


          ACE2 was significantly expressed in the S1, S2, and S3 segments of proximal tubule (PT) cells. TMPRSS2 was widely expressed in several renal tubule populations extending from the PT cells to the collection system cell type, of which intercalated cells and the distal convoluted tubule cells showed more significant expression than PT cells. Unexpectedly, although expressed on various renal tubule populations, SLC6A19 was mainly enriched in PT cells, in line with ACE2 expression. Although alveolar-type (AT) 2 cells of the lung and intestinal epithelial cells expressed ACE2 as well as PT cells, AT 2 cells significantly expressed TMPRSS2 but not SLC6A19, while all 3 genes were significantly expressed in intestinal epithelial cells.


          ACE2 was widely expressed in specific cell subgroups of various human tissues, especially in intestinal epithelial cells, kidney PT cells, and also AT 2 cells of the lung. These 3 types of cells demonstrated significant differences in the distribution of the cell receptor-related genes of SARS-CoV-2, which may indicate the diversity of cell surface structures and differences in the affinity between SARS-CoV-2 and cells.

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          Most cited references 9

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          A cellular census of human lungs identifies novel cell states in health and in asthma

          Human lungs enable efficient gas exchange and form an interface with the environment, which depends on mucosal immunity for protection against infectious agents. Tightly controlled interactions between structural and immune cells are required to maintain lung homeostasis. Here, we use single-cell transcriptomics to chart the cellular landscape of upper and lower airways and lung parenchyma in healthy lungs, and lower airways in asthmatic lungs. We report location-dependent airway epithelial cell states and a novel subset of tissue-resident memory T cells. In the lower airways of patients with asthma, mucous cell hyperplasia is shown to stem from a novel mucous ciliated cell state, as well as goblet cell hyperplasia. We report the presence of pathogenic effector type 2 helper T cells (TH2) in asthmatic lungs and find evidence for type 2 cytokines in maintaining the altered epithelial cell states. Unbiased analysis of cell-cell interactions identifies a shift from airway structural cell communication in healthy lungs to a TH2-dominated interactome in asthmatic lungs.
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            Renal ACE2 expression in human kidney disease.

            Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a recently discovered homologue of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) that is thought to counterbalance ACE. ACE2 cleaves angiotensin I and angiotensin II into the inactive angiotensin 1-9, and the vasodilator and anti-proliferative angiotensin 1-7, respectively. ACE2 is known to be present in human kidney, but no data on renal disease are available to date. Renal biopsies from 58 patients with diverse primary and secondary renal diseases were studied (hypertensive nephropathy n = 5, IgA glomerulopathy n = 8, minimal change nephropathy n = 7, diabetic nephropathy n = 8, focal glomerulosclerosis n = 5, vasculitis n = 7, and membranous glomerulopathy n = 18) in addition to 17 renal transplants and 18 samples from normal renal tissue. Immunohistochemical staining for ACE2 was scored semi-quantitatively. In control kidneys, ACE2 was present in tubular and glomerular epithelium and in vascular smooth muscle cells and the endothelium of interlobular arteries. In all primary and secondary renal diseases, and renal transplants, neo-expression of ACE2 was found in glomerular and peritubular capillary endothelium. There were no differences between the various renal disorders, or between acute and chronic rejection and control transplants. ACE inhibitor treatment did not alter ACE2 expression. In primary and secondary renal disease, and in transplanted kidneys, neo-expression of ACE2 occurs in glomerular and peritubular capillary endothelium. Further studies should elucidate the possible protective mechanisms involved in the de novo expression of ACE2 in renal disease. Copyright (c) 2004 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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              Construction of a human cell landscape at single-cell level


                Author and article information

                Kidney Dis (Basel)
                Kidney Dis (Basel)
                Kidney Diseases
                S. Karger AG (Allschwilerstrasse 10, P.O. Box · Postfach · Case postale, CH–4009, Basel, Switzerland · Schweiz · Suisse, Phone: +41 61 306 11 11, Fax: +41 61 306 12 34, )
                19 May 2020
                : 579
                : 1-13
                aNational Clinical Research Center of Kidney Diseases, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Nanjing, China
                bCenter for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China
                Author notes
                *Zhi-Hong Liu, National Clinical Research Center of Kidney Diseases, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Zhongshan East Road 305, Nanjing 210016 (China), liuzhihong@ , Guoji Guo, Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310058 (China), ggj@

                Q.L. Chen and J.Q. Li are co-first authors and contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright © 2020 by S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 6, References: 49, Pages: 13
                Research Article


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