Bioinformatics Analysis of Allele Frequencies and Expression Patterns of ACE2, TMPRSS2 and FURIN in Different Populations and Susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2

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Institute of Global Health & Human Ecology

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Mohammad Tarek; Hana Abdelzaher; Firas Kobeissy; Hassan A. El-Fawal; Mohammed M. Salama; Anwar Abdelnaser

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Research Article

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The virus responsible for the COVID-19 global health crisis, SARS-CoV-2, has been shown to utilize the ACE2 protein as an entry point to its target cells. The virus has been shown to rely on the actions of TMPRSS2 (a serine protease), as well as FURIN (a peptidase), for the critical priming of its spike protein. It has been postulated that variations in the sequence and expression of SARS-CoV-2's receptor (ACE2) and the two priming proteases (TMPRSS2 and FURIN) may be critical in contributing to SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. This study aims to examine the different expression levels of FURIN in various tissues and age ranges in light of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression levels using the LungMAP database. Furthermore, we retrieved expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) of the three genes and their annotation. We analyzed the frequency of the retrieved variants in data from various populations and compared it to the Egyptian population. We highlight FURIN's potential interplay with the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and showcase a myriad of variants of the three genes that are differentially expressed across populations. Our findings provide insights into potential genetic factors that impact SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in different populations and shed light on the varying expression patterns of FURIN.

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