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Open AccessCommunication

Expression Pattern of the SARS-CoV-2 Entry Genes ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the Respiratory Tract

by Yichuan Liu 1,†, Hui-Qi Qu 1,†, Jingchun Qu 1, Lifeng Tian 1 and Hakon Hakonarson 1,2,3,4,*
1
Center for Applied Genomics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2
Department of Pediatrics, The Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
3
Division of Human Genetics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
4
Division of Pulmonary Medicine Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Viruses 2020, 12(10), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12101174
Received: 28 September 2020 / Revised: 8 October 2020 / Accepted: 14 October 2020 / Published: 16 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Coronaviruses)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: ACE2; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; TMPRSS2 ACE2; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; TMPRSS2
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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, Y.; Qu, H.-Q.; Qu, J.; Tian, L.; Hakonarson, H. Expression Pattern of the SARS-CoV-2 Entry Genes ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the Respiratory Tract. Viruses 2020, 12, 1174.

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