It has been known that, the novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, which is considered similar to SARS-CoV and originated from Wuhan (China), invades human cells via the receptor angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2). Moreover, lung cells that have ACE2 expression may be the main target cells during 2019-nCoV infection. However, some patients also exhibit non-respiratory symptoms, such as kidney failure, implying that 2019-nCoV could also invade other organs.
To construct a risk map of different human organs, researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University analyzed the single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) datasets derived from major human physiological systems, including the respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, and urinary systems. Through scRNA-seq data analyses, the researchers identified the organs at risk, such as lung, heart, esophagus, kidney, bladder, and ileum, and located specific cell types (i.e., type II alveolar cells (AT2), myocardial cells, proximal tubule cells of the kidney, ileum and esophagus epithelial cells, and bladder urothelial cells), which are vulnerable to 2019-nCoV infection. Based on the findings, they constructed a risk map indicating the vulnerability of different organs to 2019-nCoV infection. This study may provide potential clues for further investigation of the pathogenesis and route of 2019-nCoV infection.
Respiratory track scRNA-seq data analysis showed epithelial cells with high ACE2 expression levels
(A) The cells were categorized into five clusters. (B) Violin plot of the ACE2 expression distribution of different cell clusters. (C) Scatter plots revealed that the cluster of cells with ACE2 expression also expressed canonical markers of respiratory epithelial cells PIGR and MUC1.