Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Asians Do Not Exhibit Elevated Expression or Unique Genetic Polymorphisms for ACE2, the Cell-Entry Receptor of SARS-CoV-2

Version 1 : Received: 17 February 2020 / Approved: 18 February 2020 / Online: 18 February 2020 (06:40:01 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 24 February 2020 / Approved: 25 February 2020 / Online: 25 February 2020 (06:30:17 CET)

How to cite: Chen, Y.; Shan, K.; Qian, W. Asians Do Not Exhibit Elevated Expression or Unique Genetic Polymorphisms for ACE2, the Cell-Entry Receptor of SARS-CoV-2. Preprints 2020, 2020020258 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202002.0258.v2). Chen, Y.; Shan, K.; Qian, W. Asians Do Not Exhibit Elevated Expression or Unique Genetic Polymorphisms for ACE2, the Cell-Entry Receptor of SARS-CoV-2. Preprints 2020, 2020020258 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202002.0258.v2).

Abstract

The recurrent coronavirus outbreaks in China (SARS-CoV and its relative, SARS-CoV-2) have raised speculations that perhaps Asians are somehow more susceptible to these coronaviruses. Here, we test this possibility based on an analysis of the lung-specific expression of ACE2, which encodes the known cell-entry receptor of both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. We show that ACE2 expression is not affected during tumorigenesis, supporting that the abundant transcriptomes in cancer genomic studies can be informatively used to study ACE2 expression among diverse individuals without cancer. We find that ACE2 expression in the lung increases with age, but is not associated with sex. Further, Asians do not differ from other populations for ACE2 expression and do not harbor unique genetic polymorphisms in the ACE2 locus. Thus, beyond illustrating an innovative method for assessing the potential impacts of demographic factors for non-cancer diseases from large-scale cancer sample datasets, our statistically robust findings emphasize that individuals of all races require the same level of personal protection against SARS-CoV-2.

Subject Areas

SARS-CoV-2; cell-entry receptor; ACE2; The Cancer Genome Atlas; susceptibility; demographic factors; polymorphism

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 25 February 2020
Commenter: Wenfeng Qian
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: We added positive controls to access the sensitivity of using cancer genomic data to identify differential gene expression between groups (Figure S2) -- we successfully identified all (37 out of 37) sex- or race-biased gene expression in the lung reported in a previous study using the GTEx data (Mele et al., Science, 2015). We added analyses of genetic polymorphism in the ACE2 locus using the Genome Aggregation Database (Figure S4) -- our previous conclusion held. We also performed some text editing.
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