Expression Profile of SARS-CoV-2 Host Receptors in Human Pancreatic Islets Revealed Upregulation of ACE2 in Diabetic Donors

Jalal TaneeraMahmood Yaseen Hachim


Cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2 is thought to occur through the binding of viral spike S1 protein to ACE2. The entry process involves priming of the S protein by TMPRSS2 and ADAM17, which collectively mediate the binding and promote ACE2 shedding. In this study, microarray and RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) expression data were utilized to profile the expression pattern of ACE2, ADAM17, and TMPRSS2 in type 2 diabetic (T2D) and non-diabetic human pancreatic islets. Our data show that pancreatic islets express all three receptors irrespective of diabetes status. The expression of ACE2 was significantly increased in diabetic/hyperglycemic islets compared to non-diabetic/normoglycemic. Islets from female donors showed higher ACE2 expression compared to males; the expression of ADAM17 and TMPRSS2 was not affected by gender. The expression of the three receptors was statistically similar in young (≤40 years old) versus old (≥60 years old) donors. Obese (BMI > 30) donors have significantly higher expression levels of ADAM17 and TMPRSS2 relative to those from non-obese donors (BMI < 25). TMPRSS2 expression correlated positively with HbA1c and negatively with age, while ADAM17 and TMPRSS2 correlated positively with BMI. The expression of the thr...Continue Reading


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