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SARS-CoV-2 Entry Receptor ACE2 Is Expressed on Very Small CD45- Precursors of Hematopoietic and Endothelial Cells and in Response to Virus Spike Protein Activates the Nlrp3 Inflammasome.

Authors
  • Ratajczak, Mariusz Z1, 2
  • Bujko, Kamila3
  • Ciechanowicz, Andrzej4
  • Sielatycka, Kasia5, 6
  • Cymer, Monika4
  • Marlicz, Wojciech6
  • Kucia, Magda7, 8
  • 1 Stem Cell Institute at James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, 500 S. Floyd Street, Rm. 107, Louisville, KY, 40202, USA. [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Regenerative Medicine, Center for Preclinical Research and Technology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland. [email protected] , (Poland)
  • 3 Stem Cell Institute at James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, 500 S. Floyd Street, Rm. 107, Louisville, KY, 40202, USA.
  • 4 Department of Regenerative Medicine, Center for Preclinical Research and Technology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland. , (Poland)
  • 5 Institute of Biology, Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland. , (Poland)
  • 6 Research and Developmental Center Sanprobi, Szczecin, Poland. , (Poland)
  • 7 Stem Cell Institute at James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, 500 S. Floyd Street, Rm. 107, Louisville, KY, 40202, USA. [email protected]
  • 8 Department of Regenerative Medicine, Center for Preclinical Research and Technology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland. [email protected] , (Poland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Stem cell reviews and reports
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2021
Volume
17
Issue
1
Pages
266–277
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s12015-020-10010-z
PMID: 32691370
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) plays an important role as a member of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) in regulating the conversion of angiotensin II (Ang II) into angiotensin (1-7) (Ang [1-7]). But at the same time, while expressed on the surface of human cells, ACE2 is the entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2. Expression of this receptor has been described in several types of cells, including hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which raises a concern that the virus may infect and damage the stem cell compartment. We demonstrate for the first time that ACE2 and the entry-facilitating transmembrane protease TMPRSS2 are expressed on very small CD133+CD34+Lin-CD45- cells in human umbilical cord blood (UCB), which can be specified into functional HSCs and EPCs. The existence of these cells known as very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs) has been confirmed by several laboratories, and some of them may correspond to putative postnatal hemangioblasts. Moreover, we demonstrate for the first time that, in human VSELs and HSCs, the interaction of the ACE2 receptor with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein activates the Nlrp3 inflammasome, which if hyperactivated may lead to cell death by pyroptosis. Based on this finding, there is a possibility that human VSELs residing in adult tissues could be damaged by SARS-CoV-2, with remote effects on tissue/organ regeneration. We also report that ACE2 is expressed on the surface of murine bone marrow-derived VSELs and HSCs, although it is known that murine cells are not infected by SARS-CoV-2. Finally, human and murine VSELs express several RAAS genes, which sheds new light on the role of these genes in the specification of early-development stem cells. Graphical Abstract •Human VSELs and HSCs express ACE2 receptor for SARS-CoV2 entry. •Interaction of viral spike protein with ACE2 receptor may hyperactivate Nlrp3 inflammasome which induces cell death by pyroptosis. •SARS-CoV2 may also enter cells and eliminate them by cell lysis. •What is not shown since these cells express also Ang II receptor they may hyperactivate Nlrp3 inflammasome in response to Ang II which may induce pyroptosis. Our data indicates that Ang 1-7 may have a protective effect.

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