Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

ACE2 Nascence, Trafficking and SARS-CoV-2 Pathogenesis: The Saga Continues

Version 1 : Received: 24 November 2020 / Approved: 26 November 2020 / Online: 26 November 2020 (12:10:41 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Human Genomics 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s40246-021-00304-9


With the emergence of the novel corona virus SARS-CoV-2 since December 2019, more than 43 million cases have been reported worldwide. This virus has shown high infectivity and severe symptoms in some cases leading to over 1 million deaths globally. Despite the collaborative and concerted research efforts that has been made, no effective treatment for COVID-19 (corona virus disease-2019) is currently available. SARS-CoV-2 uses the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as an initial mediator for viral attachment and host cell invasion. ACE2 is widely distributed in human tissues including the cell surface of lung cells which represent the primary site of the infection. Inhibiting or reducing cell surface availability of ACE2 represents a promising therapy for tackling COVID-19. In this context, most ACE2–based therapeutic strategies have aimed to achieve this through the use of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or neutralizing the virus by exogenous administration of ACE2. However, through this review, we present another perspective focusing on the subcellular localization and trafficking of ACE2. Membrane targeting of ACE2, shedding and its cellular trafficking pathways including internalization are not well elucidated. Therefore, hereby we present an overview on the fate of newly synthesized ACE2, its post translational modifications, what is known of its trafficking pathways. In addition, we highlight the possibility that some of the identified ACE2 missense variants might affect its trafficking efficiency and localization and hence may explain some of the observed variable severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Extensive understanding of these processes is necessary to evaluate the potential use of ACE2 as a credible therapeutic target.


Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2); trafficking; localization; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19

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