The Novel Way The Ebola Virus Infects Cells

The Novel Way The Ebola Virus Infects Cells | The Lifesciences Magazine

Comprehending the route taken by viruses after they enter the human body is essential for creating medications and treatments that effectively halt their spread. Researchers at Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) have shown that the Ebola virus may migrate between cells and avoid treatment by forming and using intercellular tunnels, as reported in a recent publication in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

“Our results indicate that the virus can establish a hiding place, conceal itself, and subsequently relocate to new cells where it can replicate,” states Olena Shtanko, PhD, the senior paper author and assistant professor at Texas Biomed.

In particular, the virus is producing what are known as tunnelling nanotubes, which are dynamic connections between cells that enable particle exchange between the cells over comparatively large distances, up to 200 microns.

Although it has been demonstrated that these structures are important in the promotion of cancer, HIV-1, influenza, and neurological illnesses, Dr. Shtanko is the first to look at how the Ebola virus spreads through these structures.

“When we launched this project a couple of years ago, we thought the general model of spread of Ebola virus infection — where a viral particle infects a cell, replication begins, new virus particles are made and released into the body to infect neighbouring cells — was a bit too simplistic,” said Dr. Shtanko.

By employing cutting-edge technology such as live scanning electron and high-resolution 3D imaging, Dr. Shtanko and her colleagues demonstrated how Ebola virus infection in cells accelerated the development of viral particle-containing tunnelling nanotubes.

These particles were then encouraged to spread to other cells by the tunnelling nanotubes.

Remarkably, only little portions of the virus that code for certain proteins were needed to cause the production of nanotubes; the entire virus was not necessary.

Ebola Virus (EVD)

This occurred even in the presence of anti-Ebola medications.

“Importantly, we observed that Ebola virus infection could spread in cultures treated with virus entry inhibitors or therapeutic treatments that stop viruses from entering a cell,” says Dr. Shtanko.

It’s still unclear exactly how Ebola virus particles are transferred by tunnelling nanotubes.

With the use of cutting-edge technologies like mass spectrometry, laser microdissection, and low-abundance RNA sequencing, Dr. Shtanko and her team intend to try to discover solutions.

They will also investigate whether similar viruses, such as the deadly Marburg and Sudan viruses, employ the same mechanism to disseminate infection.

Working with Texas Biomed Professor Ricardo Carrion, Jr., PhD, the group will search for virus-containing nanotubes in animal model tissues.

Two R21 grants from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (#AI151717 and #AI154336) as well as two funds from the Texas Biomedical Forum provided funding for this study.

Also Read: First Verified West Nile Virus Case In Colorado In 2023

Share Now