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Systematic Analysis of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 Expression in Salivary Glands Reveals Underlying Transmission Mechanism Caused by SARS-CoV-2.

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic that has caused severe health threats and fatalities in almost all communities. Studies have detected SARS-CoV-2 in saliva with a viral load that lasts for a long period. However, researchers are yet to establish whether SARS-CoV-2 can directly enter the salivary glands. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the presence of ACE2/TMPRSS2 expression in salivary glands using publicly available databases. The distribution of ACE2 and TMPRSSs family in salivary gland tissue and other tissues was analyzed. The GTEx dataset was employed to explore the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression in various body organs and salivary glands in a healthy population. The single-cell sequencing data for salivary gland samples (including submandibular salivary gland and parotid gland) from mice were collected and analyzed. The components and proportions of salivary gland cells expressing the key protease TMPRSSs family were analyzed. Transcriptome data analysis showed that ACE2 and TMPRSS2 were expressed in salivary glands. The expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 were marginal without significant differences in different age groups or between men and women. Single-cell RNA sequence analysis indicated that TMPRSS2 was mainly expressed in salivary gland epithelial cells. We speculate that SARS-CoV-2 may be entered in salivary glands. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.