VP24-Karyopherin Alpha Binding Affinities Differ between Ebolavirus Species, Influencing Interferon Inhibition and VP24 Stability.
ABSTRACT: Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV), Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV), and Reston ebolavirus (RESTV) belong to the same genus but exhibit different virulence properties. VP24 protein, a structural protein present in all family members, blocks interferon (IFN) signaling and likely contributes to virulence. Inhibition of IFN signaling by EBOV VP24 (eVP24) involves its interaction with the NPI-1 subfamily of karyopherin alpha (KPNA) nuclear transporters. Here, we evaluated eVP24, BDBV VP24 (bVP24), and RESTV VP24 (rVP24) interactions with three NPI-1 subfamily KPNAs (KPNA1, KPNA5, and KPNA6). Using purified proteins, we demonstrated that each VP24 binds to each of the three NPI-1 KPNAs. bVP24, however, exhibited approximately 10-fold-lower KPNA binding affinity than either eVP24 or rVP24. Cell-based assays also indicate that bVP24 exhibits decreased KPNA interaction, decreased suppression of IFN induced gene expression, and a decreased half-life in transfected cells compared to eVP24 or rVP24. Amino acid sequence alignments between bVP24 and eVP24 also identified residues within and surrounding the previously defined eVP24-KPNA5 binding interface that decrease eVP24-KPNA affinity or bVP24-KPNA affinity. VP24 mutations that lead to reduced KPNA binding affinity also decrease IFN inhibition and shorten VP24 half-lives. These data identify novel functional differences in VP24-KPNA interaction and reveal a novel impact of the VP24-KPNA interaction on VP24 stability. IMPORTANCE:The interaction of Ebola virus (EBOV) VP24 protein with host karyopherin alpha (KPNA) proteins blocks type I interferon (IFN) signaling, which is a central component of the host innate immune response to viral infection. Here, we quantitatively compared the interactions of VP24 proteins from EBOV and two members of the Ebolavirus genus, Bundibugyo virus (BDBV) and Reston virus (RESTV). The data reveal lower binding affinity of the BDBV VP24 (bVP24) for KPNAs and demonstrate that the interaction with KPNA modulates inhibition of IFN signaling and VP24 stability. The effect of KPNA interaction on VP24 stability is a novel functional consequence of this virus-host interaction, and the differences identified between viral species may contribute to differences in pathogenesis.
Project description:Background:In Ebola virus (EBOV) infection, the specific neutralizing activity of convalescent plasma against other members of the Ebolavirus genus has not been extensively analyzed. Methods:We measured the neutralizing activity in plasma from 3 survivors of the recent outbreak due to the Makona variant of EBOV and tested its neutralizing potency against other variants of EBOV (ie, Mayinga and Kikwit) and against Sudan virus (SUDV), Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), and Reston virus (RESTV), using a glycoprotein (GP)-pseudotyped lentiviral system both with full-length GP and in vitro-cleaved GP (GPCL). Results:Convalescent plasma specimens from survivors of EBOV infection showed low neutralizing activity against full-length GPs of SUDV, BDBV, RESTV, and EBOV variants Mayinga and Kikwit. However, broad and potent neutralizing activity was observed against the GPCL forms of SUDV, BDBV, and RESTV. Discussion:Removal of the mucin-like domain and glycan cap from the GP of members of the Ebolavirus genus presumably exposes conserved epitopes in or in the vicinity of the receptor binding site and internal fusion loop that are readily amenable to neutralization. These types of broad neutralizing antibodies could be induced by using immunogens mimicking GPCL.
Project description:Ebolaviruses have been known to cause deadly disease in humans for 40 years and have recently been demonstrated in West Africa to be able to cause large outbreaks. Four Ebolavirus species cause severe disease associated with high mortality in humans. Reston viruses are the only Ebolaviruses that do not cause disease in humans. Conserved amino acid changes in the Reston virus protein VP24 compared to VP24 of other Ebolaviruses have been suggested to alter VP24 binding to host cell karyopherins resulting in impaired inhibition of interferon signalling, which may explain the difference in human pathogenicity. Here we used protein structural analysis and molecular dynamics to further elucidate the interaction between VP24 and KPNA5.As a control experiment, we compared the interaction of wild-type and R137A-mutant (known to affect KPNA5 binding) Ebola virus VP24 with KPNA5. Results confirmed that the R137A mutation weakens direct VP24-KPNA5 binding and enables water molecules to penetrate at the interface. Similarly, Reston virus VP24 displayed a weaker interaction with KPNA5 than Ebola virus VP24, which is likely to reduce the ability of Reston virus VP24 to prevent host cell interferon signalling.Our results provide novel molecular detail on the interaction of Reston virus VP24 and Ebola virus VP24 with human KPNA5. The results indicate a weaker interaction of Reston virus VP24 with KPNA5 than Ebola virus VP24, which is probably associated with a decreased ability to interfere with the host cell interferon response. Hence, our study provides further evidence that VP24 is a key player in determining Ebolavirus pathogenicity.
Project description:During antiviral defense, interferon (IFN) signaling triggers nuclear transport of tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT1 (PY-STAT1), which occurs via a subset of karyopherin alpha (KPNA) nuclear transporters. Many viruses, including Ebola virus, actively antagonize STAT1 signaling to counteract the antiviral effects of IFN. Ebola virus VP24 protein (eVP24) binds KPNA to inhibit PY-STAT1 nuclear transport and render cells refractory to IFNs. We describe the structure of human KPNA5 C terminus in complex with eVP24. In the complex, eVP24 recognizes a unique nonclassical nuclear localization signal (NLS) binding site on KPNA5 that is necessary for efficient PY-STAT1 nuclear transport. eVP24 binds KPNA5 with very high affinity to effectively compete with and inhibit PY-STAT1 nuclear transport. In contrast, eVP24 binding does not affect the transport of classical NLS cargo. Thus, eVP24 counters cell-intrinsic innate immunity by selectively targeting PY-STAT1 nuclear import while leaving the transport of other cargo that may be required for viral replication unaffected.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV) in humans causes a severe illness with high mortality rates. Several strategies have been developed in the past to treat EBOV infection, including the antibody cocktail ZMapp, which has been shown to be effective in nonhuman primate models of infection 1 and has been used under compassionate-treatment protocols in humans 2 . ZMapp is a mixture of three chimerized murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)3-6 that target EBOV-specific epitopes on the surface glycoprotein7,8. However, ZMapp mAbs do not neutralize other species from the genus Ebolavirus, such as Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Reston virus (RESTV) or Sudan virus (SUDV). Here, we describe three naturally occurring human cross-neutralizing mAbs, from BDBV survivors, that target an antigenic site in the canonical heptad repeat 2 (HR2) region near the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) of the glycoprotein. The identification of a conserved neutralizing antigenic site in the glycoprotein suggests that these mAbs could be used to design universal antibody therapeutics against diverse ebolavirus species. Furthermore, we found that immunization with a peptide comprising the HR2-MPER antigenic site elicits neutralizing antibodies in rabbits. Structural features determined by conserved residues in the antigenic site described here could inform an epitope-based vaccine design against infection caused by diverse ebolavirus species.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV) and Reston virus (RESTV) are members of the Ebolavirus genus which greatly differ in their pathogenicity. While EBOV causes a severe disease in humans characterized by a dysregulated inflammatory response and elevated cytokine and chemokine production, there are no reported disease-associated human cases of RESTV infection, suggesting that RESTV is nonpathogenic for humans. The underlying mechanisms determining the pathogenicity of different ebolavirus species are not yet known. In this study, we dissected the host response to EBOV and RESTV infection in primary human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). As expected, EBOV infection led to a profound proinflammatory response, including strong induction of type I and type III interferons (IFNs). In contrast, RESTV-infected macrophages remained surprisingly silent. Early activation of IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and NF-?B was observed in EBOV-infected, but not in RESTV-infected, MDMs. In concordance with previous results, MDMs treated with inactivated EBOV and Ebola virus-like particles (VLPs) induced NF-?B activation mediated by Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in a glycoprotein (GP)-dependent manner. This was not the case in cells exposed to live RESTV, inactivated RESTV, or VLPs containing RESTV GP, indicating that RESTV GP does not trigger TLR4 signaling. Our results suggest that the lack of immune activation in RESTV-infected MDMs contributes to lower pathogenicity by preventing the cytokine storm observed in EBOV infection. We further demonstrate that inhibition of TLR4 signaling abolishes EBOV GP-mediated NF-?B activation. This finding indicates that limiting the excessive TLR4-mediated proinflammatory response in EBOV infection should be considered as a potential supportive treatment option for EBOV disease.IMPORTANCE Emerging infectious diseases are a major public health concern, as exemplified by the recent devastating Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak. Different ebolavirus species are associated with widely varying pathogenicity in humans, ranging from asymptomatic infections for Reston virus (RESTV) to severe disease with fatal outcomes for EBOV. In this comparative study of EBOV- and RESTV-infected human macrophages, we identified key differences in host cell responses. Consistent with previous data, EBOV infection is associated with a proinflammatory signature triggered by the surface glycoprotein (GP), which can be inhibited by blocking TLR4 signaling. In contrast, infection with RESTV failed to stimulate a strong host response in infected macrophages due to the inability of RESTV GP to stimulate TLR4. We propose that disparate proinflammatory host signatures contribute to the differences in pathogenicity reported for ebolavirus species and suggest that proinflammatory pathways represent an intriguing target for the development of novel therapeutics.
Project description:The Filoviridae family of negative-sense, single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) viruses is comprised of two species of Marburgvirus (MARV and RAVV) and five species of Ebolavirus, i.e. Zaire (EBOV), Reston (RESTV), Sudan (SUDV), Taï Forest (TAFV) and Bundibugyo (BDBV). In each of these viruses the ssRNA encodes seven distinct proteins. One of them, the nucleoprotein (NP), is the most abundant viral protein in the infected cell and within the viral nucleocapsid. It is tightly associated with the viral RNA in the nucleocapsid, and during the lifecycle of the virus is essential for transcription, RNA replication, genome packaging and nucleocapsid assembly prior to membrane encapsulation. The structure of the unique C-terminal globular domain of the NP from EBOV has recently been determined and shown to be structurally unrelated to any other known protein [Dziubańska et al. (2014), Acta Cryst. D70, 2420-2429]. In this paper, a study of the C-terminal domains from the NP from the remaining four species of Ebolavirus, as well as from the MARV strain of Marburgvirus, is reported. As expected, the crystal structures of the BDBV and TAFV proteins show high structural similarity to that from EBOV, while the MARV protein behaves like a molten globule with a core residual structure that is significantly different from that of the EBOV protein.
Project description:One year after a Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) outbreak occurred in the Boende Health Zone of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 2014, we sought to determine the breadth of immune response against diverse filoviruses including EBOV, Bundibugyo (BDBV), Sudan (SUDV), and Marburg (MARV) viruses. After assessing the 15 survivors, 5 individuals demonstrated some degree of reactivity to multiple ebolavirus species and, in some instances, Marburg virus. All 5 of these survivors had immunoreactivity to EBOV glycoprotein (GP) and EBOV VP40, and 4 had reactivity to EBOV nucleoprotein (NP). Three of these survivors showed serologic responses to the 3 species of ebolavirus GPs tested (EBOV, BDBV, SUDV). All 5 samples also exhibited ability to neutralize EBOV using live virus, in a plaque reduction neutralization test. Remarkably, 3 of these EBOV survivors had plasma antibody responses to MARV GP. In pseudovirus neutralization assays, serum antibodies from a subset of these survivors also neutralized EBOV, BDBV, SUDV, and Taï Forest virus as well as MARV. Collectively, these findings suggest that some survivors of naturally acquired ebolavirus infection mount not only a pan-ebolavirus response, but also in less frequent cases, a pan-filovirus neutralizing response.
Project description:Reston viruses are the only Ebolaviruses that are not pathogenic in humans. We analyzed 196 Ebolavirus genomes and identified specificity determining positions (SDPs) in all nine Ebolavirus proteins that distinguish Reston viruses from the four human pathogenic Ebolaviruses. A subset of these SDPs will explain the differences in human pathogenicity between Reston and the other four ebolavirus species. Structural analysis was performed to identify those SDPs that are likely to have a functional effect. This analysis revealed novel functional insights in particular for Ebolavirus proteins VP40 and VP24. The VP40 SDP P85T interferes with VP40 function by altering octamer formation. The VP40 SDP Q245P affects the structure and hydrophobic core of the protein and consequently protein function. Three VP24 SDPs (T131S, M136L, Q139R) are likely to impair VP24 binding to human karyopherin alpha5 (KPNA5) and therefore inhibition of interferon signaling. Since VP24 is critical for Ebolavirus adaptation to novel hosts, and only a few SDPs distinguish Reston virus VP24 from VP24 of other Ebolaviruses, human pathogenic Reston viruses may emerge. This is of concern since Reston viruses circulate in domestic pigs and can infect humans, possibly via airborne transmission.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV), which belongs to the genus Ebolavirus, causes a severe and often fatal infection in primates, including humans, whereas Reston virus (RESTV) only causes lethal disease in non-human primates. Two amino acids (aa) at positions 82 and 544 of the EBOV glycoprotein (GP) are involved in determining viral infectivity. However, it remains unclear how these two aa residues affect the infectivity of Ebolavirus species in various hosts. Here we performed viral pseudotyping experiments with EBOV and RESTV GP derivatives in 10?cell lines from 9 mammalian species. We demonstrated that isoleucine at position 544/545 increases viral infectivity in all host species, whereas valine at position 82/83 modulates viral infectivity, depending on the viral and host species. Structural modelling suggested that the former residue affects viral fusion, whereas the latter residue influences the interaction with the viral entry receptor, Niemann-Pick C1.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV) infection blocks cellular production of alpha/beta interferon (IFN-alpha/beta) and the ability of cells to respond to IFN-alpha/beta or IFN-gamma. The EBOV VP35 protein has previously been identified as an EBOV-encoded inhibitor of IFN-alpha/beta production. However, the mechanism by which EBOV infection inhibits responses to IFNs has not previously been defined. Here we demonstrate that the EBOV VP24 protein functions as an inhibitor of IFN-alpha/beta and IFN-gamma signaling. Expression of VP24 results in an inhibition of IFN-induced gene expression and an inability of IFNs to induce an antiviral state. The VP24-mediated inhibition of cellular responses to IFNs correlates with the impaired nuclear accumulation of tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT1 (PY-STAT1), a key step in both IFN-alpha/beta and IFN-gamma signaling. Consistent with this proposed function for VP24, infection of cells with EBOV also confers a block to the IFN-induced nuclear accumulation of PY-STAT1. Further, VP24 is found to specifically interact with karyopherin alpha1, the nuclear localization signal receptor for PY-STAT1, but not with karyopherin alpha2, alpha3, or alpha4. Overexpression of VP24 results in a loss of karyopherin alpha1-PY-STAT1 interaction, indicating that the VP24-karyopherin alpha1 interaction contributes to the block to IFN signaling. These data suggest that VP24 is likely to be an important virulence determinant that allows EBOV to evade the antiviral effects of IFNs.