What is ACE2 | Coronavirus | IAS Target IAS Target

What is ACE2?

14 Dec 2021

Category : Science and Technology

Topic: What is ACE2?

ACE2 is an enzyme molecule that links the interior and exterior of cells via the cell membrane.
In normal physiology, another enzyme called ACE changes the chemical angiotensin I, converted to angiotensin II, which induces blood vessels to narrow. As a result, blood pressure rises as blood vessels narrow.
Next, the ACE2 molecule acts. It counteracts the effects of ACE, widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. The tip that forms the "crown" of the coronavirus binds to the ACE2 enzyme and enters the cell. These spikes on the virus's surface are called S1 proteins and attach to the ACE2 molecule of the cell.
The virus can invade cells through a process called endocytosis. In this process, the cell membrane wraps around the virus and internalises it in bubbles called endosomes. The virus interacts with the genetic mechanism of the host cell and uses existing structures to replicate itself extensively, once itís inside the cell. The virus behind COVID19, SARSCoV2, has a high binding capacity to ACE2. This is 10 to 20 times more than the original SARS virus.
  • This means that SARSCoV2 is more likely to invade human cells than the original coronavirus and is more contagious overall.
  • ACE2 and COVID19 However, there is still conflicting evidence about the exact role ACE2 plays in coronavirus infections.
  • In some cases, that can also be beneficial. For example, ACE2 has been shown to play its role and reduce damage to the lung tissue of the original SARS virus in mice by dilating blood vessels.
  • ACE2 is a cell surface receptor. It binds to the coronavirus and is modified by another protein on the cell surface called TMPRSS2, which allows it to invade and infect healthy cells.
  • High levels of ACE2 are present in the lungs and, consequently, it is presumed to play a crucial role in the advancement of lung conditions related to Covid19.
  • ACE2 and the male death toll It's well established that COVID19 affects men and women differently.
Men relatively have higher levels of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a protein in the blood that SarsCoV2, the virus that causes Covid19, uses to enter human cells. ACE2 is found in the lungs and the heart, kidneys, and tissues lining blood vessels, and there are exceptionally high levels in the testes. Its ordinance in the testes may partly justify more elevated ACE2 concentrations in men and why men are more vulnerable to Covid19. In China, the country of origin of Covid19, almost two-thirds (64%) of deaths was on to men, compared to women, who accounted for 36% of deaths.
In conclusion, The role of ACE2 in COVID19 is essential in understanding the disease and can be used as a therapeutic target. While it is possible to develop drugs that block the receptor function of ACE2, it is also expected that the molecule itself will be used to prevent the virus from entering cells. This is expected to protect organs such as the lungs, heart, kidneys and intestines from extensive damage and reduce mortality.