Infection by Ebola virus causes rapidly progressive, often fatal, symptoms of fever, hemorrhage and hypotension. Previous attempts to elicit protective immunity for this disease have not met with success. We report here that protection against the lethal effects of Ebola virus can be achieved in an animal model by immunizing with plasmids encoding viral proteins. We analyzed immune responses to the viral nucleoprotein (NP) and the secreted or transmembrane forms of the glycoprotein (sGP or GP) and their ability to protect against infection in a guinea pig infection model analogous to the human disease. Protection was achieved and correlated with antibody titer and antigen-specific T-cell responses to sGP or GP. Immunity to Ebola virus can therefore be developed through genetic vaccination and may facilitate efforts to limit the spread of this disease.
"Protective humoral responses to EBOV have also been demonstrated and shown to result from B cell responses to EBOV GP (Jahrling et al., 1996). In contrast, both EBOV GP and NP are known to induce T cell responses (Sullivan et al., 2000; Xu et al., 1998). A greater understanding of the nature of protective immune responses is necessary to facilitate the development of future vaccines against this virus. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ebola virus (EBOV) is known to cause a severe hemorrhagic fever resulting in high mortality. Although the precise host defense mechanism(s) that afford protection against EBOV is not completely understood, T cell-mediated immune responses is believed to play a pivotal role in controlling virus replication and EBOV infection. There have been no reports on mapping of MHC Class I-binding CTL epitopes for EBOV till to date. In this study, we identified five HLA-A2-binding 9-mer peptides of EBOV nucleoprotein (NP) using computer-assisted algorithm. The peptides were synthesized and examined for their ability to bind to MHC class I molecules using a flow cytometry based MHC stabilization assay. Three of the EBOV-NP peptides tested (FLSFASLFL, RLMRTNFLI and KLTEAITAA) stabilized HLA-A2. The ability of the HLA-A2-binding EBOV-NP peptides to generate peptide-specific CTLs was evaluated in HLA-A2.1 transgenic mice. Epitope-specific CTL responses were confirmed by cytotoxic assays against peptide-pulsed target cells and interferon-gamma ELISPOT assay. Each of the EBOV-NP peptides induced CTL responses in HLA-A2-transgenic mice. Interestingly, all the three peptides were conserved in three different strains of Ebola (Zaire and Reston and Sudan). Taken together, these findings provide direct evidence for the existence of EBOV-derived NP epitopes that may be useful in the development of protective immunogens for this hemorrhagic virus.
"The mode of transmission of filoviruses is not known, although fruit bats have been recently implicated as the natural reservoirs of Ebola virus(Leroy et al., 2005; Peterson et al., 2004). Several promising vaccination methods have been developed in non-human primate models, but currently there is no vaccine or treatment available for filovirus infection in human (Jones et al., 2005; Sullivan et al., 2000, 2003; Xu et al., 1998). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One major determinant of host tropism for filoviruses is viral glycoprotein (GP), which is involved in receptor binding and viral entry. Compared to Ebola GP (EGP), Marburg GP (MGP) is less well characterized in viral entry. In this study, using a human immunodeficiency virus-based pseudotyped virus as a surrogate system, we have characterized the role of MGP in viral entry. We have shown that like EGP, the mucin-like region of MGP (289-501) is not essential for virus entry. We have developed a viral entry interference assay for filoviruses, and using this assay, we have demonstrated that transfection of EGP or MGP in target cells can interfere with EGP/HIV and MGP/HIV pseudotyped virus entry in a dose-dependent manner. These results are consistent with the notion that Ebola and Marburg viruses use the same or a related host molecule(s) for viral entry. Substitutions of the non-conserved residues in MGP1 did not impair MGP-mediated viral entry. Unlike that of EGP1, individual substitutions of many conserved residues of MGP1 exerted severe defects in MGP expression, incorporation to HIV virions, and thus its ability to mediate viral entry. These results indicate that MGP is more sensitive to substitutions of the conserved residues, suggesting that MGP may fold differently from EGP.
"Recent efforts have focused on the use of recombinant DNA techniques. Vaccinating guinea pigs with plasmids containing Nucleoprotein (NP), soluble Glycoprotein, or Glycoprotein (GP) elicited humoral and cellular immune responses against these gene products but only partially protected them against lethal challenge (Xu et al., 1998). In 2000, Sullivan et al. (2000) reported protection of cynomolgus monkeys from Ebola infection by injecting them with naked-DNA GP, followed by an adenovirus-expressing GP booster. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ebola Virus (EBOV) presents a challenge for vaccine development because immune correlates of protection in humans are not well known. In earlier studies we developed a concept of local similarity which refers to resemblance of structural patterns of unrelated proteins as a function of their amino acid composition. The search for local similarities between human and EBOV proteins was performed. The resemblance of NP protein of EBOV to vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptor, which play a key role in the regulation of vascular permeability, was identified. A high degree of local similarity of Ebola GP protein with the tactile protein of the T-cell surface was also revealed. The similarity of the Ebola VP24 protein fragment with complement receptor type 1 (CD35 antigen) appears to be correlated with early activation of complement in lethal Ebola fever. This finding supports our prior studies indicating that VP24 determines the difference between lethal and non-lethal strains of EBOV. Several other similarities of potential significance were identified that might play an important role in the aetiology of Ebola-induced disease. In conclusion, local similarities between EBOV and human host proteins may provide a key to rational design of safe and effective filovirus vaccines. Such a vaccine must be free from epitopes that could potentially trigger Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever due to an autoimmune reaction induced by vaccination and other unanticipated adversities.
International Journal of Biotechnology 01/2007; 9(3). DOI:10.1504/IJBT.2007.014251
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