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Virus receptors are highly involved in mediating the entrance of infectious viruses into host cells. Here, we found that typical chemical exposure caused the upregulation of virus receptor mRNA levels. Chemicals with the same structural characteristics can affect the transcription of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a dominant receptor of SARS-CoV-2. Some chemicals can also regulate the transcription of ACE2 by similar regulatory mechanisms, such as multilayer biological responses and the crucial role of TATA-box binding protein associated factor 6. The abovementioned finding suggested that chemical mixtures may have a joint effect on the ACE2 mRNA level in the real scenario, where humans are exposed to numerous chemicals simultaneously in daily life. Chemically regulated virus receptor transcription was in a tissue-dependent manner, with the highest sensitivity in pulmonary epithelial cells. Therefore, in addition to genetic factors, exogenous chemical exposure can be an emerging nongenetic factor that stimulates the transcription of virus receptor abundance and may elevate the protein expression. These alterations could ultimately give rise to the susceptibility to virus infection and disease severity. This finding highlights new requirements for sufficient epidemiological data about exposomes on pathogen receptors in the host.


Xiaoting Jin, Jingxu Zhang, Yanting Li, Ze Zhang, Tenglong Cui, Yuanyuan Wang, Linlin Yao, Xiaoxi Yang, Guangbo Qu, Yuxin Zheng, Guibin Jiang. Exogenous Chemical Exposure Increased Transcription Levels of the Host Virus Receptor Involving Coronavirus Infection. Environmental science & technology. 2022 Feb 01;56(3):1854-1863

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PMID: 35049283

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