Lab Anim Res.  2020 Sep;36(3):177-187. 10.1186/s42826-020-00056-y.

Characterization of changes in global gene expression in the hearts and kidneys of transgenic mice overexpressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2

Affiliations
  • 1Laboratory Animal Resources Division, National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Cheongju 28159, South Korea
  • 2Biologics Division National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Cheongju 28159, South Korea
  • 3Department of Biomaterials Science, College of Natural Resources & Life Science/Life and Industry Convergence Research Institute, Pusan National University, Miryang 50463, South Korea
  • 4College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Chungju 28644, South Korea Jong Koo Kang

Abstract

Human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) has recently received a great attention due to it play a critical role as SARS-CoV receptor in the infection of human body. However, no further analysis for gene regulation has been performed in target tissues of model mice during hACE2 overproduction. To characterize changes in global gene expression in the hearts and kidneys of rtTA/hACE2 double transgenic (dTg) mice in response to hACE2 overexpression, total RNA extracted from these tissues from dTg mice after doxycycline (Dox) treatment was hybridized to oligonucleotide microarrays. Briefly, dTg mice were generated by cross-mating pα-MHC/rtTA Tg mice with pTRE/hACE2 Tg mice. The expression level of hACE2 protein was determined to be high in hearts, kidneys, and brains of dTg mice, whereas lung, liver, and testis tissues expressed low levels. The level of hACE2 was significantly enhanced in hearts and kidneys of the Dox+dTg group compared to that in Vehicle+dTg mice although consistent levels of mouse ACE2 (mACE2) remained in the same tissues. Based on the microarray analysis of heart tissue, 385 genes were differentially expressed, including 168 upregulated and 217 downregulated, when comparing non-Tg and Vehicle+dTg mice, whereas 216 genes were differentially expressed, including 136 upregulated and 80 downregulated, between Vehicle+dTg and Dox+dTg mice. In the kidneys, 402 genes were differentially expressed, including 159 upregulated and 243 downregulated, between non-Tg and Vehicle+dTg mice. Dox-treated dTg mice exhibited the differential expression of 4735 genes including 1636 upregulated and 3109 downregulated. Taken together, these findings suggested that several functional groups and individual genes can be considered biomarkers that respond to hACE2 overexpression in dTg mice. Moreover, our results provided a lot of useful information to predict physiological responses when these dTg mice are applied as a susceptible model for novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV, COVID-19) in both vaccine and drug development.

Keyword

Human ACE2; Transgenic mice; α-MHC; C57BL/6NKorl; Microarray; Coronavirus
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