Research press release


Nature Medicine

SARS-CoV-2 entry factors are highly expressed in nasal epithelial cells together with innate immune genes

SARS-CoV-2ウイルスの宿主への侵入に関わる遺伝子が、健康なヒトの呼吸器、角膜や腸管の特定の上皮細胞で発現していることを示した論文が、今週Nature Medicine に掲載される。このような遺伝子が、自然免疫に関与する遺伝子と共に鼻の細胞で発現していることが明らかになった。このことはウイルスの当初の感染、伝播と排除に鼻の組織が関わっている可能性を示している。


ACE2とTMPRSS2は、SARS-CoV-2ウイルスの侵入に関わる2つの分子である。今回、肺生物学ネットワーク(Lung Biological Network)のW Sungnakたちは、これらをコードする遺伝子の発現パターンを明らかにするために、健康なドナーの呼吸器系、網膜、骨格筋、前立腺、脳、皮膚などさまざまな組織から得られたデータの分析を行った。ACE2は、以前の研究で示されているように多数の組織で発現していることが確かめられた。さらに、ACE2はこれまで調べられていなかった組織でもTMPRSS2と共発現していることが確認された。



Multi-tissue genetic analysis suggests SARS-CoV-2 may infect specific nose cells Genes associated with how the virus SARS-CoV-2 enters a host were found to be expressed in specific healthy human respiratory, corneal and intestinal epithelial cells, according to a paper published this week in Nature Medicine. Expression of these genes was observed in nasal cells alongside that of genes involved in the innate immune system, which suggests a potential role for nasal tissue in initial viral infection, transmission and clearance.

Previous research had shown that nasal swabs from patients with symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 respiratory disease (the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2) exhibit higher viral concentrations than those in throat swabs. This has implicated the nasal passage as a potential gateway for initial infection and transmission.

ACE2 and TMPRSS2 are two molecules involved in SARS-CoV-2 viral entry. To clarify the expression patterns of the genes encoding ACE2 and TMPRSS2, Waradon Sungnak and colleagues from the Lung Biological Network examined various human tissue samples obtained from healthy donors. The authors analysed data for tissues from various parts of the respiratory system, the retina, skeletal muscle, prostate, brain and skin, among other locations. They confirmed the expression of ACE2 in multiple tissues implicated in prior research. They also detected ACE2 expression in tissues not previously analysed, along with its co-expression with TMPRSS2.

The authors found high expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in nasal goblet and ciliated cells, which produce mucus. This suggests that these cells are the location of original viral infection and are possibly the source of dissemination within and between people.

The authors conclude that their results could potentially have implications for future treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0868-6


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