Genetic and epigenetic control of ACE2 expression and its possible role in COVID-19.

Cell Biochemistry and Function
Rafael Silva LimaPaula Rocha Moreira


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a pandemic that is claiming hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) is a key player in COVID-19 due to its pivotal role in the SARS-CoV-2 infection. This enzyme is expressed throughout the body and the studies conducted so far have shown that its expression varies according to several factors, including cell type, sex, age, disease states and probably SARS-CoV-2 infection. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone post-translational modifications and microRNAs, impact ACE2 expression and may explain structural variation. The understanding of how genetic variants and epigenetic markers act to control ACE2 expression in health and disease states may contribute to comprehend several aspects of COVID-19 that are puzzling researchers and clinicians. This review collects and appraises the literature regarding some aspects in the ACE2 biology, the expression patterns of this molecule, SNPs of the ACE2 gene and epigenetic mechanisms that may impact ACE2 expression in the context of COVID-19.


Jan 30, 2002·The Journal of Biological Chemistry·Chad VickersPeter Tummino
Jun 28, 2003·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Robson A S SantosThomas Walther
Jan 27, 2005·European Heart Journal·Louise M BurrellColin I Johnston
Apr 19, 2005·American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology·Michiya IgaseCarlos M Ferrario
Jul 8, 2005·Nature·Yumiko ImaiJosef M Penninger
Jul 15, 2005·Kidney International·Osamu TakaseTakao Saruta
Nov 24, 2005·Life Sciences·Xudong XieLiu Yanrong
Jul 11, 2006·Genome Research·Xia YangAldons J Lusis
Apr 22, 2008·FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology·Sonja KowalczukStefan Bröer
Apr 29, 2008·American Journal of Physiology. Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology·Xiaopeng LiBruce D Uhal
Nov 27, 2008·Kidney International·Heather N ReichAndrew M Herzenberg
Jul 14, 2009·American Journal of Physiology. Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology·Ruifeng ZhangHuanying Wan
Feb 2, 2010·Infection, Genetics and Evolution : Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics in Infectious Diseases·Gunanidhi DhangadamajhiManoranjan Ranjit
Aug 5, 2011·Channels·Dustin Singer, Simone M R Camargo
Sep 28, 2012·Clinical Science·Louise M BurrellSheila K Patel
Nov 24, 2012·Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology·Chi-Hsien ChouJinn-Yuh Guh
Jan 30, 2013·Fertility and Sterility·Michal Inbar-FeigenbergRosanna Weksberg
Nov 2, 2013·The Journal of Clinical Investigation·Teruki SatoKeiji Kuba
Dec 18, 2013·Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology·Vaibhav B PatelGavin Y Oudit
Feb 26, 2014·Clinical Science·Daniel W LambertAnthony J Turner
May 3, 2014·Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology·En Li, Yi Zhang
Jul 1, 2014·Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology·Jacqueline R KempSadashiva S Karnik
Jul 12, 2014·The Journal of Biological Chemistry·Emilie CeraudoCatherine Llorens-Cortes

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