Preprint Brief Report Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

DNA Methylation Analysis of the COVID-19 Host Cell Receptor, Angiotensin I Converting Enzyme 2 Gene (ACE2) in the Respiratory System Reveal Age and Gender Differences

Version 1 : Received: 17 March 2020 / Approved: 19 March 2020 / Online: 19 March 2020 (02:51:45 CET)

How to cite: Corley, M.J.; Ndhlovu, L.C. DNA Methylation Analysis of the COVID-19 Host Cell Receptor, Angiotensin I Converting Enzyme 2 Gene (ACE2) in the Respiratory System Reveal Age and Gender Differences. Preprints 2020, 2020030295 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0295.v1). Corley, M.J.; Ndhlovu, L.C. DNA Methylation Analysis of the COVID-19 Host Cell Receptor, Angiotensin I Converting Enzyme 2 Gene (ACE2) in the Respiratory System Reveal Age and Gender Differences. Preprints 2020, 2020030295 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0295.v1).

Abstract

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has emerged as a global threat to human health and disease risk increases with advancing age. The regulation of the ACE2 gene that codes for COVID-19 host receptor ACE2 has been shown to be under epigenetic regulation. Here, we examined whether intensive DNA methylation profiling of the ACE2 gene differed by human host tissue and cell type, gender, and age. Results: Accessing four public datasets, we observed unique human cell-type-specific ACE2 DNA methylation patterns. In human lung tissues, gender differences in DNA methylation at 2 sites related to the ACE2 gene were identified. Further, in freshly isolated airway epithelial cells, DNA methylation near the transcription start site of the ACE2 gene associated with biological age. Conclusion: Epigenetic profiling of host tissue may permit discovery of age and gender-related potential risk factors for COVID-19. How perturbations in ACE2 methylation relate to clinical severity across the ages and gender needs to be determined to guide screening tools and potential epigenetic modification targeting to alleviate COVID-19 morbidity in the elderly.

Subject Areas

Wuhan 2019-nCoV; ACE2; DNA methylation; epigenetics; profiling; lung tissue; age; gender; COVID-19; coronavirus

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