Tenacious Researchers Identify a Weakness in All Ebolaviruses.

TitleTenacious Researchers Identify a Weakness in All Ebolaviruses.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsDuBois, Rebecca M.
Date Published2018 11 20
KeywordsAntibodies, Neutralizing, Antibodies, Viral, Ebolavirus, Epitopes, Humans, Membrane Glycoproteins

The genus has at least five members, four of which are known to cause deadly disease in humans. An ideal therapy or a vaccine would protect against all ebolaviruses, but identifying a common weakness in all of them has remained elusive. West et al. [B. R. West, C. L. Moyer, L. B. King, M. L. Fusco, et al., mBio 9(5):e01674-18, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01674-18] make the exciting discovery of an "Achilles' heel," a cryptic and conserved pocket, on the surface antigen glycoprotein (GP) that is nearly identical in all known ebolaviruses. Key to this discovery was their study of antibody ADI-15878, the only isolated human antibody that can block infectivity of all known ebolaviruses. Following tenacious efforts in X-ray crystallography, West et al. report the high-resolution crystal structures of the Ebola virus GP and the Bundibugyo virus GP, each bound to antibody ADI-15878. These structures reveal a highly conserved but partially obscured site on the virus GP, providing a foundation for design of vaccine antigens or antiviral therapies.

Alternate JournalMBio
PubMed ID30459187
PubMed Central IDPMC6247086