Characterization of the L gene and 5' trailer region of Ebola virus.
The nucleotide sequences of the L gene and 5' trailer region of Ebola virus strain Mayinga (subtype Zaire) have been determined, thus completing the sequence of the Ebola virus genome. The putative transcription start signal of the L gene was identical to the determined 5' terminus of the L mRNA (5' GAGGAAGAUUAA) and showed a high degree of similarity to the corresponding regions of other Ebola virus genes. The 3' end of the L mRNA terminated with 5' AUUAUAAAAAA, a sequence which is distinct from the proposed transcription termination signals of other genes. The 5' trailer sequence of the Ebola virus genomic RNA consisted of 676 nt and revealed a self-complementary sequence at the extreme end which may play an important role in virus replication. The L gene contained a single ORF encoding a polypeptide of 2212 aa. The deduced amino acid sequence showed identities of about 73 and 44% to the L proteins of Ebola virus strain Maleo (subtype Sudan) and Marburg virus, respectively. Sequence comparison studies of the Ebola virus L proteins with several corresponding proteins of other non-segmented, negative-strand RNA viruses, including Marburg viruses, confirmed a close relationship between filoviruses and members of the Paramyxovirinae. The presence of several conserved linear domains commonly found within L proteins of other members of the order Mononegavirales identified this protein as the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of Ebola virus. (+info)
Ebola virus selectively inhibits responses to interferons, but not to interleukin-1beta, in endothelial cells.
Ebola virus infection is highly lethal and leads to severe immunosuppression. In this study, we demonstrate that infection of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) with Ebola virus Zaire (EZ) suppressed basal expression of the major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I) family of proteins and inhibited the induction of multiple genes by alpha interferon (IFN-alpha) and IFN-gamma, including those coding for MHC I proteins, 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetase [2'-5'(A)N], and IFN regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1). Induction of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and ICAM-1 by IL-1beta was not suppressed by infection with EZ, suggesting that the inhibition of IFN signaling is specific. Gel shift analysis demonstrated that infection with EZ blocked the induction by IFNs of nuclear proteins that bind to IFN-stimulated response elements, gamma activation sequences, and IFN regulatory factor binding site (IRF-E). In contrast, infection with EZ did not block activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB by IL-1beta. The events that lead to the blockage of IFN signaling may be critical for Ebola virus-induced immunosuppression and would play a role in the pathogenesis of Ebola virus infection. (+info)
Core structure of the envelope glycoprotein GP2 from Ebola virus at 1.9-A resolution.
Ebola virions contain a surface transmembrane glycoprotein (GP) that is responsible for binding to target cells and subsequent fusion of the viral and host-cell membranes. GP is expressed as a single-chain precursor that is posttranslationally processed into the disulfide-linked fragments GP1 and GP2. The GP2 subunit is thought to mediate membrane fusion. A soluble fragment of the GP2 ectodomain, lacking the fusion-peptide region and the transmembrane helix, folds into a stable, highly helical structure in aqueous solution. Limited proteolysis studies identify a stable core of the GP2 ectodomain. This 74-residue core, denoted Ebo-74, was crystallized, and its x-ray structure was determined at 1.9-A resolution. Ebo-74 forms a trimer in which a long, central three-stranded coiled coil is surrounded by shorter C-terminal helices that are packed in an antiparallel orientation into hydrophobic grooves on the surface of the coiled coil. Our results confirm the previously anticipated structural similarity between the Ebola GP2 ectodomain and the core of the transmembrane subunit from oncogenic retroviruses. The Ebo-74 structure likely represents the fusion-active conformation of the protein, and its overall architecture resembles several other viral membrane-fusion proteins, including those from HIV and influenza. (+info)
Leptospirosis and Ebola virus infection in five gold-panning villages in northeastern Gabon.
An exhaustive epidemiologic and serologic survey was carried out in five gold-panning villages situated in northeastern Gabon to estimate the degree of exposure of to leptospirosis and Ebola virus. The seroprevalence was 15.7% for leptospirosis and 10.2% for Ebola virus. Sixty years after the last seroepidemiologic survey of leptospirosis in Gabon, this study demonstrates the persistence of this infection among the endemic population and the need to consider it as a potential cause of hemorrhagic fever in Gabon. There was no significant statistical correlation between the serologic status of populations exposed to both infectious agents, indicating the lack of common risk factors for these diseases. (+info)
Ebola virus can be effectively neutralized by antibody produced in natural human infection.
The activity of antibodies against filoviruses is poorly understood but has important consequences for vaccine design and passive prophylaxis. To investigate this activity, a panel of recombinant human monoclonal antibodies to Ebola virus antigens was isolated from phage display libraries constructed from RNA from donors who recovered from infection in the 1995 Ebola virus outbreak in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo. Antibodies reactive with nucleoprotein (NP), envelope glycoprotein (GP), and secreted envelope glycoprotein (sGP) were characterized by immunofluorescence and radioimmunoprecipitation assays. Four antibodies reacting strongly with sGP and weakly with GP and two antibodies reacting with NP were not neutralizing. An antibody specific for GP neutralized Ebola virus to 50% at 0.4 microgram/ml as the recombinant Fab fragment and to 50% at 0.3 microgram/ml (90% at 2.6 microgram/ml) as the corresponding whole immunoglobulin G1 molecule. The studies indicate that neutralizing antibodies are produced in infection by Ebola virus although probably at a relatively low frequency. The neutralizing antibody may be useful in vaccine design and as a prophylactic agent against Ebola virus infection. (+info)
Mutational analysis of the putative fusion domain of Ebola virus glycoprotein.
Ebola viruses contain a single glycoprotein (GP) spike, which functions as a receptor binding and membrane fusion protein. It contains a highly conserved hydrophobic region (amino acids 524 to 539) located 24 amino acids downstream of the N terminus of the Ebola virus GP2 subunit. Comparison of this region with the structural features of the transmembrane subunit of avian retroviral GPs suggests that the conserved Ebola virus hydrophobic region may, in fact, serve as the fusion peptide. To test this hypothesis directly, we introduced conservative (alanine) and nonconservative (arginine) amino acid substitutions at eight positions in this region of the GP2 molecule. The effects of these mutations were deduced from the ability of the Ebola virus GP to complement the infectivity of a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) lacking the receptor-binding G protein. Some mutations, such as Ile-to-Arg substitutions at positions 532 (I532R), F535R, G536A, and P537R, almost completely abolished the ability of the GP to support VSV infectivity without affecting the transport of GP to the cell surface and its incorporation into virions or the production of virus particles. Other mutations, such as G528R, L529A, L529R, I532A, and F535A, reduced the infectivity of the VSV-Ebola virus pseudotypes by at least one-half. These findings, together with previous reports of liposome association with a peptide corresponding to positions 524 to 539 in the GP molecule, offer compelling support for a fusion peptide role for the conserved hydrophobic region in the Ebola virus GP. (+info)
Ebola virus defective interfering particles and persistent infection.
Ebola virus (Zaire subtype) is associated with high mortality disease outbreaks that commonly involve human to human transmission. Surviving patients can show evidence of prolonged virus persistence. The potential for Ebola virus to generate defective interfering (DI) particles and establish persistent infections in tissue culture was investigated. It was found that serial undiluted virus passages quickly resulted in production of an evolving population of virus minireplicons possessing both deletion and copyback type DI genome rearrangements. The tenth undiluted virus passage resulted in the establishment of virus persistently infected cell lines. Following one or two crises, these cells were stably maintained for several months with continuous shedding of infectious virus. An analysis of the estimated genome lengths of a selected set of the Ebola virus minireplicons and standard filoviruses revealed no obvious genome length rule, such as "the rule of six" found for the phylogenetically related Paramyxovirinae subfamily viruses. Minimal promoters for Ebola virus replication were found to be contained within 156 and 177 nucleotide regions of the genomic and antigenomic RNA 3' termini, respectively, based on the length of authentic termini retained in the naturally occurring minireplicons analyzed. In addition, using UV-irradiated preparations of virus released from persistently infected cells, it was demonstrated that Ebola virus DI particles could potentially be used as natural minireplicons to assay standard virus support functions. (+info)
Delta-peptide is the carboxy-terminal cleavage fragment of the nonstructural small glycoprotein sGP of Ebola virus.
In the present study we have investigated processing and maturation of the nonstructural small glycoprotein (sGP) of Ebola virus. When sGP expressed from vaccinia virus vectors was analyzed by pulse-chase experiments using SDS-PAGE under reducing conditions, the mature form and two different precursors have been identified. First, the endoplasmic reticulum form sGP(er), full-length sGP with oligomannosidic N-glycans, was detected, sGP(er) was then replaced by the Golgi-specific precursor pre-sGP, full-length sGP containing complex N-glycans. This precursor was finally converted by proteolysis into mature sGP and a smaller cleavage fragment, Delta-peptide. Studies employing site-directed mutagenesis revealed that sGP was cleaved at a multibasic amino acid motif at positions 321 to 324 of the open reading frame. Cleavage was blocked by RVKR-chloromethyl ketone. Uncleaved pre-sGP forms a disulfide-linked homodimer and is secreted into the culture medium in the presence of the inhibitor as efficiently as proteolytically processed sGP. In vitro treatment of pre-sGP by purified recombinant furin resulted in efficient cleavage, confirming the importance of this proprotein convertase for the processing and maturation of sGP. Delta-peptide is also secreted into the culture medium and therefore represents a novel nonstructural expression product of the GP gene of Ebola virus. Both cleavage fragments contain sialic acid, but only Delta-peptide is highly O-glycosylated. (+info)