ACE2 in the Era of SARS-CoV-2: Controversies and Novel Perspectives

Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Federica SaponaroRiccardo Zucchi


Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is related to ACE but turned out to counteract several pathophysiological actions of ACE. ACE2 exerts antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects and reduces lung inflammation. ACE2 is subjected to extensive transcriptional and post-transcriptional modulation by epigenetic mechanisms and microRNAs. Also, ACE2 expression is regulated post-translationally by glycosylation, phosphorylation, and shedding from the plasma membrane. ACE2 protein is ubiquitous across mammalian tissues, prominently in the cardiovascular system, kidney, and intestine. ACE2 expression in the respiratory tract is of particular interest, in light of the discovery that ACE2 serves as the initial cellular target of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-coronaviruses, including the recent SARS-CoV2, responsible of the COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an intense effort has been made to elucidate the biochemical determinants of SARS-CoV2-ACE2 interaction. It has been determined that SARS-CoV2 engages with ACE2 through its spike (S) protein, which consists of two subunits: S1, that mediates binding to the host receptor; S2, that induces fusion of the viral envelope with the ...Continue Reading


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