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)
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)
Epitopes involved in antibody-mediated protection from Ebola virus.
To determine the ability of antibodies to provide protection from Ebola viruses, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the Ebola glycoprotein were generated and evaluated for efficacy. We identified several protective mAbs directed toward five unique epitopes on Ebola glycoprotein. One of the epitopes is conserved among all Ebola viruses that are known to be pathogenic for humans. Some protective mAbs were also effective therapeutically when administered to mice 2 days after exposure to lethal Ebola virus. The identification of protective mAbs has important implications for developing vaccines and therapies for Ebola virus. (+info)
Distinct mechanisms of entry by envelope glycoproteins of Marburg and Ebola (Zaire) viruses.
Since the Marburg (MBG) and Ebola (EBO) viruses have sequence homology and cause similar diseases, we hypothesized that they associate with target cells by similar mechanisms. Pseudotype viruses prepared with a luciferase-containing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 backbone and packaged by the MBG virus or the Zaire subtype EBO virus glycoproteins (GP) mediated infection of a comparable wide range of mammalian cell types, and both were inhibited by ammonium chloride. In contrast, they exhibited differential sensitivities to treatment of target cells with tunicamycin, endoglycosidase H, or protease (pronase). Therefore, while they exhibit certain functional similarities, the MBG and EBO virus GP interact with target cells by distinct processes. (+info)
Viewpoint: filovirus haemorrhagic fever outbreaks: much ado about nothing?
The recent outbreak of Marburg haemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo has put the filovirus threat back on the international health agenda. This paper gives an overview of Marburg and Ebola outbreaks so far observed and puts them in a public health perspective. Damage on the local level has been devastating at times, but was marginal on the international level despite the considerable media attention these outbreaks received. The potential hazard of outbreaks, however, after export of filovirus from its natural environment into metropolitan areas, is argued to be considerable. Some avenues for future research and intervention are explored. Beyond the obvious need to find the reservoir and study the natural history, public health strategies for a more timely and efficient response are urgently needed. (+info)