Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI

Determination of specific antibody responses to the six species of ebola and Marburg viruses by multiplexed protein microarrays.

PMID 25230936


Infectious hemorrhagic fevers caused by the Marburg and Ebola filoviruses result in human mortality rates of up to 90%, and there are no effective vaccines or therapeutics available for clinical use. The highly infectious and lethal nature of these viruses highlights the need for reliable and sensitive diagnostic methods. We assembled a protein microarray displaying nucleoprotein (NP), virion protein 40 (VP40), and glycoprotein (GP) antigens from isolates representing the six species of filoviruses for use as a surveillance and diagnostic platform. Using the microarrays, we examined serum antibody responses of rhesus macaques vaccinated with trivalent (GP, NP, and VP40) virus-like particles (VLP) prior to infection with the Marburg virus (MARV) (i.e., Marburg marburgvirus) or the Zaire virus (ZEBOV) (i.e., Zaire ebolavirus). The microarray-based assay detected a significant increase in antigen-specific IgG resulting from immunization, while a greater level of antibody responses resulted from challenge of the vaccinated animals with ZEBOV or MARV. Further, while antibody cross-reactivities were observed among NPs and VP40s of Ebola viruses, antibody recognition of GPs was very specific. The performance of mucin-like domain fragments of GP (GP mucin) expressed in Escherichia coli was compared to that of GP ectodomains produced in eukaryotic cells. Based on results with ZEBOV and MARV proteins, antibody recognition of GP mucins that were deficient in posttranslational modifications was comparable to that of the eukaryotic cell-expressed GP ectodomains in assay performance. We conclude that the described protein microarray may translate into a sensitive assay for diagnosis and serological surveillance of infections caused by multiple species of filoviruses.