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Single-cell RNA expression profiling of ACE2, the receptor of SARS-CoV-2

By Yu Zhao, Zixian Zhao, Yujia Wang, Yueqing Zhou, Yu Ma, Wei Zuo

Posted 26 Jan 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.26.919985

A novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. According to WHO report, this new coronavirus has resulted in 76,392 confirmed infections and 2,348 deaths in China by 22 February, 2020, with additional patients being identified in a rapidly growing number internationally. SARS-CoV-2 was reported to share the same receptor, Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), with SARS-CoV. Here based on the public database and the state-of-the-art single-cell RNA-Seq technique, we analyzed the ACE2 RNA expression profile in the normal human lungs. The result indicates that the ACE2 virus receptor expression is concentrated in a small population of type II alveolar cells (AT2). Surprisingly, we found that this population of ACE2-expressing AT2 also highly expressed many other genes that positively regulating viral entry, reproduction and transmission. This study provides a biological background for the epidemic investigation of the COVID-19, and could be informative for future anti-ACE2 therapeutic strategy development. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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