Fig.1 Structure of a Eloba virion.
Fig.2 EBOV genome (a) and life cycle (b).
Ebola virus (EBOV) is a kind of enveloped negative-stranded RNA virus. This virus belongs to family Filoviridae, which has a unique morphology similar to Marburg virus, but obviously has no antigen characteristics of Marburg virus. EBOV disease (EVD) is a serious and fatal disease caused by EBOV, which has been proved to cause hemorrhagic fever in humans and other mammals, including monkeys and chimpanzees. EVD outbreaks usually begin with a possible zoonotic transmission, and then spread from person to person through direct contact with infected body fluids or contaminated mites. EVD has a high mortality rate and is characterized by fever, gastrointestinal symptoms and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.
Fig.3 Illustration of EBOV.
EBOV was initially classified as the now-obsolete Filovirus genus. In March 1998, the Vertebrate Virus Subcommittee proposed in the International Committee of Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) that the genus of Filovirus be changed to the Filoviridae with two specific genera: EBOV and Marburg virus.
The five characteristic species of the genus EBOV are: Zaire EBOV (ZEBOV), Sudan EBOV (SUDV), Reston EBOV (RESTV), Taï Forest EBOV (TAFV), Bundibugyo EBOV (BDBV). Among them, ZEBOV is also referred to as Zaire virus, with the highest case fatality rate, as high as 90% in some epidemics, and the average case fatality rate in 27 years is about 83%. The ZEBOV outbreaks outnumber any other species.
Fig.4 Taxonomy of the genus Ebolavirus. (Jacob, 2020)
The genome of EBOV is a non-segmented RNA strand. SDS-PAGE showed that there were 7 structural proteins. They are the major nucleoprotein NP (104 K), glycoprotein GP (125 K), L protein (180 K) and four proteins: VP40 (40 K), VPX (35 K), VP30 (30 K) and VP24 (24 K). All proteins are encoded by a single cis-trans mRNA transcript complementary to virion RNA.
GP is the main protein of the surface spikes, only this viral protein is glycosylated. NP envelops the genome and protects it from nuclease. The enveloped genomic RNA is called nucleocapsid and serves as a template for transcription and replication. In the process of replication, NP entrapment is coupled with RNA synthesis, and all replication products are resistant to nuclease.
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