Trilogy of ACE2: a peptidase in the renin-angiotensin system, a SARS receptor, and a partner for amino acid transporters

Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Oct;128(1):119-28. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2010.06.003. Epub 2010 Jul 3.


Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) 2 is a homolog to the carboxypeptidase ACE, which generates angiotensin II, the main active peptide of renin-angiotensin system (RAS). After the cloning of ACE2 in 2000, three major ACE2 functions have been described so far. First ACE2 has emerged as a potent negative regulator of the RAS counterbalancing the multiple functions of ACE. By targeting angiotensin II ACE2 exhibits a protective role in the cardiovascular system and many other organs. Second ACE2 was identified as an essential receptor for the SARS coronavirus that causes severe acute lung failure. Downregulation of ACE2 strongly contributes to the pathogenesis of severe lung failure. Third, both ACE2 and its homologue Collectrin can associate with amino acid transporters and play essential role in the absorption of amino acids in the kidney and gut. In this review, we will discuss the multiple biological functions of ACE2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Transport Systems / pharmacology
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Peptide Hydrolases / genetics
  • Peptide Hydrolases / physiology
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / genetics
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / physiology*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System*
  • SARS Virus / metabolism
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / etiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology


  • Amino Acid Transport Systems
  • Peptide Hydrolases
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2