EBOLA - a hemorrhagic fever virus
        discovered in the former Zaire in 1976
        single stranded RNA virus of Filovirida family  (pics)
        19K nucleotides --> 8 protein including surface glycoprotein (used for vaccines?)
   Ebola is immunosuppressive
            infects monocytes first, then spreads to macrophages, endothelia, & liver
            macrophages release multiple cytokines --> lymphocytes to undergo apoptosis
                                --> intravasculature coagulation --> fibrin clots --> hemorrhage

           easily killed via paraformaldehyde
            vaccines & passive immunity trials underway (summer 2002)
        *   may have been weaponized by Russians (Biohazard by Ken Alibeck)
 Significance of a protein's structure to its action:
   Ebola virus is so deadly due to its ease of entry into host cells.
virion coat contains a 'spike' protein [glycoprotein] whose crystallized structure was recently
      determined by X-ray crystallography at Scripps in LaJolla by immunologist
Erica Saphire and her research
      group (Nature 454: 177-182, 2008).   the GP's attach easily to host and drive virion into a host cell.
       the carbohydrates wrapping the glycoproteins mask the virion from a host immune system, but knowing the structure of the GP1 has shown a few sites not coated by sugars available for attack by drugs.
virion's receptor binding site is a
mucin-like domain at the center-base of a chalice shape made by three GP1 proteins and protected by a canopy of the GP1's. The chalice is cradled by GP2 subunits. The canopy is likely shed as the virion approaches a host allowing binding of the mucin domain to the host.
ebola coat structure
   WHO Ebola Fact Sheet
   CDC 4th Biosafety Symposium report 1997
   Hemorrhagic Fever [WHO Surveillance & Response - CSR]
   WHO Guidelines for Epidemic Preparedness for Hemorrhagic Fevers
   List of Ebola Outbreaks                                                                           cmallery (July, 2008)  - back