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Submitted: 27 Dec 2020
Revision: 17 Apr 2021
Accepted: 27 Apr 2021
ePublished: 23 Jun 2021
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  Abstract View: 83

Original Article

Bioinformatic Evaluation of the miRNAs Targeting ACE2 Gene in COVID-19

Milad Rafat ORCID logo, Aida Roashan ORCID logo, Amin Reza Nikpoor* ORCID logo

Abstract

Introduction: Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which began in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, has become a global epidemic. Angiotensin 2 converting enzyme (ACE2) acts as a receptor for host function to cause acute coronavirus 2 acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2). ACE2 is abundantly expressed in different cells of different human organs. In human physiology, ACE2 is a major player in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) system by degrading angiotensin II. Many factors have been associated with altered ACE2 expression and the severity and progression of COVID-19, including microRNAs that may be effective in it. Identifying pathological changes due to SARS-CoV-2 infection is important because it has major implications for understanding the pathophysiology of COVID-19 and developing evidence-based treatment strategies. Currently, many intervention strategies are being explored in ongoing clinical trials.

Objective: The aim of this study is to use bioinformatics databases to find potential antiviral therapies against SARS-CoV-2 through host microRNAs (miRNAs) that can reduce viral gene expression to inhibit virus entry and replication.

Methods: Using different algorithms in TargetScan, DIANA, ENCORI and miRWalk databases, the potential microRNAs were identified that target ACE2. Then, a score table was prepared from the candidate microRNAs, based on the affinity of the seed region of microRNAs and the 3`-UTR region of the ACE2 gene. Finally, microRNAs with higher scores were chosen as candidates for practical analysis.

Results: The results of Bioinformatical analysis showed that Has-miR-200c-3p, Has-miR-29a, Has-miR-29c, and Has-miR-942 are most likely to inhibit ACE2. These microRNAs are the most potent factors that might be affected on ACE2 during virulence.

Conclusion: It seems that ACE2 is under the control of the miR-200c-3p and plays a crucial role in the pathophysiology process. Therefore, this microRNA can be considered as a suitable new candidate for experimental evaluation.

Keywords: SARS-COV-2, COVID-19, ACE2, microRNA, miRNA
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