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Relative Abundance of SARS-CoV-2 Entry Genes in the Enterocytes of the Lower Gastrointestinal Tract

By Jaewon J. Lee, Scott Kopetz, Eduardo Vilar, John Paul Shen, Ken Chen, Anirban Maitra

Posted 09 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.08.033001 (published DOI: 10.3390/genes11060645)

COVID-19, the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has rapidly spread throughout the world and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, thus leading to a rapid surge in the efforts to understand the mechanisms of transmission, methods of prevention, and potential therapies. While COVID-19 frequently manifests as a respiratory infection, there is evidence for infection of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract with documented viral RNA shedding in the stool of infected patients. In this study, we aimed to investigate the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2, which are required for SARS-CoV-2 entry into mammalian cells, from single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) datasets of five different parts of the GI tract: esophagus, stomach, pancreas, small intestine, and colon/rectum. ### Competing Interest Statement A.M. receives royalties for a pancreatic cancer biomarker test from Cosmos Wisdom Biotechnology, and this financial relationship is managed and monitored by the UTMDACC Conflict of Interest Committee. A.M. is also listed as an inventor on a patent that has been licensed by Johns Hopkins University to Thrive Earlier Detection. E.V. has a consulting and advisory role with Janssen research and Development. The remaining authors disclose no conflicts.

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