[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Currently, no vaccines or therapeutics are licensed to counter Ebola or Marburg viruses, highly pathogenic filoviruses that are causative agents of viral hemorrhagic fever. Here we show that administration of positively charged phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMOplus), delivered by various dosing strategies initiated 30-60 min after infection, protects>60% of rhesus monkeys against lethal Zaire Ebola virus (ZEBOV) and 100% of cynomolgus monkeys against Lake Victoria Marburg virus (MARV) infection. PMOplus may be useful for treating these and other highly pathogenic viruses in humans.
Nature medicine 09/2010; 16(9):991-4. · 28.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMOs) are uncharged nucleic acid-like molecules designed to inactivate the expression of specific genes via the antisense-based steric hindrance of mRNA translation. PMOs have been successful at knocking out viral gene expression and replication in the case of acute viral infections in animal models and have been well tolerated in human clinical trials. We propose that antisense PMOs represent a promising class of therapeutic agents that may be useful for combating filoviral infections. We have previously shown that mice treated with a PMO whose sequence is complementary to a region spanning the start codon of VP24 mRNA were protected against lethal Ebola virus challenge. In the present study, we report on the abilities of two additional VP24-specific PMOs to reduce the cell-free translation of a VP24 reporter, to inhibit the in vitro replication of Ebola virus, and to protect mice against lethal challenge when the PMOs are delivered prior to infection. Additionally, structure-activity relationship evaluations were conducted to assess the enhancement of antiviral efficacy associated with PMO chemical modifications that included conjugation with peptides of various lengths and compositions, positioning of conjugated peptides to either the 5' or the 3' terminus, and the conferring of charge modifications by the addition of piperazine moieties. Conjugation with arginine-rich peptides greatly enhanced the antiviral efficacy of VP24-specific PMOs in infected cells and mice during lethal Ebola virus challenge.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 03/2009; 53(5):2089-99. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccines have the advantage of being morphologically and antigenically similar to the live virus from which they are derived. Expression of the glycoprotein and VP40 matrix protein from Lake Victoria marburgvirus (MARV) results in spontaneous production of VLPs in mammalian cells. Guinea pigs vaccinated with Marburg virus VLPs (mVLPs) or inactivated MARV (iMARV) develop homologous humoral and T-cell responses and are completely protected from a lethal homologous MARV challenge.
To determine whether mVLPs based on the Musoke (aka Lake Victoria) isolate of MARV could broadly protect against diverse isolates of MARV, guinea pigs were vaccinated with mVLPs or iMARV-Musoke and challenged with MARV-Musoke, -Ravn or -Ci67.
Prior to challenge, the mVLP- and iMARV-vaccinated guinea pigs had high levels of homologous MARV-Musoke and heterologous MARV-Ravn and -Ci67 antibodies. The Musoke-based mVLPs and iMARV vaccines provided complete protection in guinea pigs against viremia, viral replication and pathological changes in tissues, and lethal disease following challenge with MARV-Musoke, -Ravn or -Ci67. Guinea pigs vaccinated with RIBI adjuvant alone and infected with guinea pig-adapted MARV-Musoke, -Ravn or -Ci67 had histopathologic findings similar to those seen in the nonhuman primate model for MARV infection. Based on the strong protection observed in guinea pigs, we next vaccinated cynomolgus macaques with Musoke-based mVLPs and showed the VLP-vaccinated monkeys were broadly protected against three isolates of MARV (Musoke, Ravn and Ci67).
Musoke mVLPs are effective at inducing broad heterologous immunity and protection against multiple MARV isolates.
Expert Review of Vaccines 06/2008; 7(4):417-29. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg viruses) are among the deadliest viruses known to mankind, with mortality rates nearing 90%. These pathogens are highly infectious through contact with infected body fluids and can be easily aerosolized. Additionally, there are currently no licensed vaccines available to prevent filovirus outbreaks. Their high mortality rates and infectious capabilities when aerosolized and the lack of licensed vaccines available to prevent such infectious make Ebola and Marburg viruses serious bioterrorism threats, placing them both on the category A list of bioterrorism agents. Here we describe a panfilovirus vaccine based on a complex adenovirus (CAdVax) technology that expresses multiple antigens from five different filoviruses de novo. Vaccination of nonhuman primates demonstrated 100% protection against infection by two species of Ebola virus and three Marburg virus subtypes, each administered at 1,000 times the lethal dose. This study indicates the feasibility of vaccination against all current filovirus threats in the event of natural hemorrhagic fever outbreak or biological attack.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Budding of Ebola virus (EBOV) particles from the plasma membrane of infected cells requires viral and host proteins. EBOV virus matrix protein VP40 recruits TSG101, an ESCRT-1 (host cell endosomal sorting complex required for transport-1) complex protein in the vacuolar protein sorting (vps) pathway, to the plasma membrane during budding. Involvement of other vps proteins in EBOV budding has not been established. Therefore, we used VP40 deletion analysis, virus-like particle-release assays, and confocal microscopy to investigate the potential role of ESCRT-1 proteins VPS4, VPS28, and VPS37B in EBOV budding. We found that VP40 could redirect each protein from endosomes to the cell surface independently of TSG101 interaction. A lack of VPS4 adenosine triphosphatase activity reduced budding by up to 80%. Inhibition of VPS4 gene expression by use of phosphorodiamidite morpholino antisense oligonucleotides protected mice from lethal EBOV infection. These data show that EBOV can use vps proteins independently of TSG101 for budding and reveal VPS4 as a potential target for filovirus therapeutics.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 12/2007; 196 Suppl 2:S264-70. · 5.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics for the prevention or treatment of infection by the highly lethal filoviruses, Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV), in humans. We previously had demonstrated the protective efficacy of virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccines against EBOV and MARV infection in rodents.
To determine the efficacy of vaccination with Ebola VLPs (eVLPs) in nonhuman primates, we vaccinated cynomolgus macaques with eVLPs containing EBOV glycoprotein (GP), nucleoprotein (NP), and VP40 matrix protein and challenged the macaques with 1000 pfu of EBOV.
Serum samples from the eVLP-vaccinated nonhuman primates demonstrated EBOV-specific antibody titers, as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, complement-mediated lysis assay, and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity assay. CD44+ T cells from eVLP-vaccinated macaques but not from a naive macaque responded with vigorous production of tumor necrosis factor- alpha after EBOV-peptide stimulation. All 5 eVLP-vaccinated monkeys survived challenge without clinical or laboratory signs of EBOV infection, whereas the control animal died of infection.
On the basis of safety and efficacy, eVLPs represent a promising filovirus vaccine for use in humans.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 12/2007; 196 Suppl 2:S430-7. · 5.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current methods for inactivating filoviruses are limited to high doses of irradiation or formalin treatment, which may cause structural perturbations that are reflected by poor immunogenicity. In this report, we describe a novel inactivation technique for Zaire Ebola virus (ZEBOV) that uses the photoinduced alkylating probe 1,5-iodonaphthylazide (INA). INA is incorporated into lipid bilayers and, when activated by ultraviolet irradiation, alkylates the proteins therein. INA treatment of ZEBOV resulted in the complete loss of infectivity in cells. Results of electron microscopy and virus-capture assays suggested the preservation of conformational surface epitopes. Challenge with 50,000 pfu of INA-inactivated, mouse-adapted ZEBOV did not cause disease or death in mice. A single vaccination with INA-inactivated ZEBOV (equivalent to 5 x 10(4) pfu) protected mice against lethal challenge with 1000 pfu of ZEBOV. INA-inactivated virus induced a protective response in 100% of mice when administered 3 days before challenge. Thus, INA may have significant potential for the development of vaccines and immunotherapeutics for filoviruses and other enveloped viruses.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 12/2007; 196 Suppl 2:S276-83. · 5.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Virus-like particles (VLPs) of Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV) produced in human 293T embryonic kidney cells have been shown to be effective vaccines against filoviral infection. In this study, we explored alternative strategies for production of filovirus-like particle-based vaccines, to accelerate the development process. The goal of this work was to increase the yield of VLPs, while retaining their immunogenic properties.
Ebola and Marburg VLPs (eVLPs and mVLPs, respectively) were generated by use of recombinant baculovirus constructs expressing glycoprotein, VP40 matrix protein, and nucleoprotein from coinfected insect cells. The baculovirus-derived eVLPs and mVLPs were characterized biochemically, and then the immune responses produced by the eVLPs in insect cells were studied further.
The baculovirus-derived eVLPs elicited maturation of human myeloid dendritic cells (DCs), indicating their immunogenic properties. Mice vaccinated with insect cell-derived eVLPs generated antibody and cellular responses equivalent to those vaccinated with mammalian 293T cell-derived eVLPs and were protected from EBOV challenge in a dose-dependent manner.
Together, these data suggest that filovirus-like particles produced by baculovirus expression systems, which are amenable to large-scale production, are highly immunogenic and are suitable as safe and effective vaccines for the prevention of filoviral infection.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 12/2007; 196 Suppl 2:S421-9. · 5.78 Impact Factor
Abstracts of the NERCE/BEID [New England Regional Center of Excellence/Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases] FOURTH ANNUAL RETREAT, The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA; 11/2007
Poster presented at the NERCE/BEID [New England Regional Center of Excellence/Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases] Fourth Annual Retreat, Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA; 11/2007
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding how protective innate immune responses are generated is crucial to defeating highly lethal emerging pathogens. Accumulating evidence suggests that potent innate immune responses are tightly linked to control of Ebola and Marburg filoviral infections. Here, we report that unlike authentic or inactivated Ebola and Marburg, filovirus-derived virus-like particles directly activated human natural killer (NK) cells in vitro, evidenced by pro-inflammatory cytokine production and enhanced cytolysis of permissive target cells. Further, we observed perforin- and CD95L-mediated cytolysis of filovirus-infected human dendritic cells (DCs), primary targets of filovirus infection, by autologous NK cells. Gene expression knock-down studies directly linked NK cell lysis of infected DCs to upregulation of the natural cytotoxicity receptor, NKp30. These results are the first to propose a role for NK cells in the clearance of infected DCs and the potential involvement of NKp30-mediated cytolysis in control of viral infection in vivo. Further elucidation of the biology of NK cell activation, specifically natural cytotoxicity receptors like NKp30 and NKp46, promises to aid our understanding of microbial pathology.
Abstracts of the 4th Annual NIAID [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] RCE [Regional Centers of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases] Research Meeting, Hyatt Regency Hotel at Union Station, St. Louis, Missouri, USA; 04/2007