MicroRNAs targeting the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor ACE2 in cardiomyocytes

J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2020 Nov;148:46-49. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2020.08.017. Epub 2020 Sep 3.


The World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a public health emergency of international concern as more than 15 million cases were reported by 24th July 2020. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a COVID-19 entry receptor regulating host cell infection. A recent study reported that ACE2 is expressed in cardiomyocytes. In this study, we aimed to explore if there are microRNA (miRNA) molecules which target ACE2 and which may be exploited to regulate the SARS-CoV-2 receptor. Our data reveal that both Ace2 mRNA and Ace2 protein levels are inhibited by miR-200c in rat primary cardiomyocytes and importantly, in human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. We report the first miRNA candidate that can target ACE2 in cardiomyocytes and thus may be exploited as a preventive strategy to treat cardiovascular complications of COVID-19.

Keywords: ACE2; COVID-19; Cardiomyocytes; miRNAs.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / genetics*
  • Animals
  • COVID-19 / genetics*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Computer Simulation
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / virology
  • Rats
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • MIRN200 microRNA, human
  • MIRN200 microRNA, rat
  • MicroRNAs
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Ace2 protein, mouse
  • Ace2 protein, rat
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2