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A gateway for Ebola/Marburg viruses

Ebola and Marburg viruses (belonging to the family of filoviruses) are two of the most pathogenic viruses in humans, with mortality rates from infection reaching as high as 80%. Effective therapies and vaccines are dependent upon a more complete understanding of the virus life-cycles, including the mechanisms by which these viruses enter and exit the cells they infect. Microdomains sometimes called lipid rafts because of their detergent insoluble and lateral mobility characteristics exist on the outer membranes of cells allowing for the colocalization of molecules necessary for the cells function. Lipid rafts have been implicated in entry, infection and budding of a variety of pathogens including intracellular bacteria and viruses such as HIV.

In the March 4 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, Aman and colleagues from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease, demonstrate that Ebola and Marburg viruses are dependent upon cell membrane lipid rafts for entry into the cell and ultimately for virus assembly and budding, and are thus potential therapeutic targets. They further go on to demonstrate that virus-like particles (VLPs) that do not contain viral genome (and thus are of potential therapeutic utility) can be generated. The authors speculate that these VLPs may have utility as vaccines against these lethal pathogens.


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Contact: Lynette Henry
henryn@rockefeller.edu
Journal of Experimental Medicine
3-Mar-2002


Page: 1

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