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An Ebola Virus-Like Particle-Based Reporter System Enables Evaluation of Antiviral Drugs In Vivo under Non-Biosafety Level 4 Conditions.


ABSTRACT: Ebola virus (EBOV) is a highly contagious lethal pathogen. As a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) agent, however, EBOV is restricted to costly BSL-4 laboratories for experimentation, thus significantly impeding the evaluation of EBOV vaccines and drugs. Here, we report an EBOV-like particle (EBOVLP)-based luciferase reporter system that enables the evaluation of anti-EBOV agents in vitro and in vivo outside BSL-4 facilities. Cotransfection of HEK293T cells with four plasmids encoding the proteins VP40, NP, and GP of EBOV and firefly luciferase (Fluc) resulted in the production of Fluc-containing filamentous particles that morphologically resemble authentic EBOV. The reporter EBOVLP was capable of delivering Fluc into various cultured cells in a GP-dependent manner and was recognized by a conformation-dependent anti-EBOV monoclonal antibody (MAb). Significantly, inoculation of mice with the reporter EBOVLP led to the delivery of Fluc protein into target cells and rapid generation of intense bioluminescence signals that could be blocked by the administration of EBOV neutralizing MAbs. This BSL-4-free reporter system should facilitate high-throughput screening for anti-EBOV drugs targeting viral entry and efficacy testing of candidate vaccines.Ebola virus (EBOV) researches have been limited to costly biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) facilities due to the lack of animal models independent of BSL-4 laboratories. In this study, we reveal that a firefly luciferase-bearing EBOV-like particle (EBOVLP) with typical filamentous EBOV morphology is capable of delivering the reporter protein into murine target cells both in vitro and in vivo Moreover, we demonstrate that the reporter delivery can be inhibited both in vitro and in vivo by a known anti-EBOV protective monoclonal antibody, 13C6. Our work provides a BSL-4-free system that can facilitate the in vivo evaluation of anti-EBOV antibodies, drugs, and vaccines. The system may also be useful for mechanistic study of the viral entry process.

SUBMITTER: Li D 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5021419 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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