Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

scRNA-seq Profiling of Human Testes Reveals the Presence of ACE2 Receptor, a Target for SARS-CoV-2 Infection, in Spermatogonia, Leydig and Sertoli Cells

Version 1 : Received: 18 February 2020 / Approved: 21 February 2020 / Online: 21 February 2020 (02:42:15 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Wang, Z.; Xu, X. scRNA-seq Profiling of Human Testes Reveals the Presence of the ACE2 Receptor, A Target for SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Spermatogonia, Leydig and Sertoli Cells. Cells 2020, 9, 920. Wang, Z.; Xu, X. scRNA-seq Profiling of Human Testes Reveals the Presence of the ACE2 Receptor, A Target for SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Spermatogonia, Leydig and Sertoli Cells. Cells 2020, 9, 920.

Journal reference: Cells 2020, 9
DOI: 10.3390/cells9040920

Abstract

In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was identified in patients with pneumonia (called COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. SARS-CoV-2 shares high sequence similarity and uses the same cell entry receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), as does severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Several studies have provided bioinformatic evidence of potential routes for SARS-CoV-2 infection in respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive and urinary systems. However, whether the reproductive system is a potential target of SARS-CoV-2 infection has not been determined. Here, we investigate the expression pattern of ACE2 in adult human testis at the level of single-cell transcriptomes. The results indicate that ACE2 is predominantly enriched in spermatogonia, Leydig and Sertoli cells. Gene ontology analyses indicate that GO categories associated with viral reproduction and transmission are highly enriched in ACE2-positive spermatogonia while male gamete generation related terms are down-regulated. Cell-cell junction and immunity related GO terms are increased in ACE2-positive Leydig and Sertoli cells, but mitochondria and reproduction related GO terms are decreased. These findings provide evidence that human testes are a potential target of SARS-CoV-2 infection which may have significant impact on our understanding of the pathophysiology of this rapidly spreading disease.

Subject Areas

SARS-CoV-2; infection; scRNA-Seq; ACE2; spermatogonia

Comments (2)

Comment 1
Received: 2 April 2020
Commenter: Carolina Segami
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: I couldn't find which method was used to perform the pseudo time analysis
+ Respond to this comment
Response 1 to Comment 1
Received: 9 April 2020
Commenter: Xiaojiang Xu
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Monocle 3 was used to perform the pseudo time analysis.

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