TIM-1 serves as a #receptor for #Ebola virus in vivo, enhancing #viremia and #pathogenesis (PLoS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

[Source: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


TIM-1 serves as a receptor for Ebola virus in vivo, enhancing viremia and pathogenesis

Bethany Brunton, Kai Rogers, Elisabeth K. Phillips, Rachel B. Brouillette, Ruayda Bouls, Noah S. Butler, Wendy Maury

Published: June 26, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006983 / This is an uncorrected proof.




T cell immunoglobulin mucin domain-1 (TIM-1) is a phosphatidylserine (PS) receptor, mediating filovirus entry into cells through interactions with PS on virions. TIM-1 expression has been implicated in Ebola virus (EBOV) pathogenesis; however, it remains unclear whether this is due to TIM-1 serving as a filovirus receptor in vivo or, as others have suggested, TIM-1 induces a cytokine storm elicited by T cell/virion interactions. Here, we use a BSL2 model virus that expresses EBOV glycoprotein to demonstrate the importance of TIM-1 as a virus receptor late during in vivo infection.

Methodology/Principal findings

Infectious, GFP-expressing recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus encoding either full length EBOV glycoprotein (EBOV GP/rVSV) or mucin domain deleted EBOV glycoprotein (EBOV GPΔO/rVSV) was used to assess the role of TIM-1 during in vivo infection. GFP-expressing rVSV encoding its native glycoprotein G (G/rVSV) served as a control. TIM-1-sufficient or TIM-1-deficient BALB/c interferon α/β receptor-/- mice were challenged with these viruses. While G/rVSV caused profound morbidity and mortality in both mouse strains, TIM-1-deficient mice had significantly better survival than TIM-1-expressing mice following EBOV GP/rVSV or EBOV GPΔO/rVSV challenge. EBOV GP/rVSV or EBOV GPΔO/rVSV in spleen of infected animals was high and unaffected by expression of TIM-1. However, infectious virus in serum, liver, kidney and adrenal gland was reduced late in infection in the TIM-1-deficient mice, suggesting that virus entry via this receptor contributes to virus load. Consistent with higher virus loads, proinflammatory chemokines trended higher in organs from infected TIM-1-sufficient mice compared to the TIM-1-deficient mice, but proinflammatory cytokines were more modestly affected. To assess the role of T cells in EBOV GP/rVSV pathogenesis, T cells were depleted in TIM-1-sufficient and -deficient mice and the mice were challenged with virus. Depletion of T cells did not alter the pathogenic consequences of virus infection.


Our studies provide evidence that at late times during EBOV GP/rVSV infection, TIM-1 increased virus load and associated mortality, consistent with an important role of this receptor in virus entry. This work suggests that inhibitors which block TIM-1/virus interaction may serve as effective antivirals, reducing virus load at late times during EBOV infection.


Author summary

T cell immunoglobulin mucin domain-1 (TIM-1) is one of a number of phosphatidylserine (PS) receptors that mediate clearance of apoptotic bodies by binding PS on the surface of dead or dying cells. Enveloped viruses mimic apoptotic bodies by exposing PS on the outer leaflet of the viral membrane. While TIM-1 has been shown to serve as an adherence factor/receptor for filoviruses in tissue culture, limited studies have investigated the role of TIM-1 as a receptor in vivo. Here, we sought to determine if TIM-1 was critical for Ebola virus glycoprotein-mediated infection using a BSL2 model virus. We demonstrate that loss of TIM-1 expression results in decreased virus load late during infection and significantly reduced virus-elicited mortality. These findings provide evidence that TIM-1 serves as an important receptor for Ebola virus in vivo. Blocking TIM-1/EBOV interactions may be effective antiviral strategy to reduce viral load and pathogenicity at late times of EBOV infection.


Citation: Brunton B, Rogers K, Phillips EK, Brouillette RB, Bouls R, Butler NS, et al. (2019) TIM-1 serves as a receptor for Ebola virus in vivo, enhancing viremia and pathogenesis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(6): e0006983. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006983

Editor: Michael R. Holbrook, NIAID Integrated Research Facility, UNITED STATES

Received: November 5, 2018; Accepted: May 17, 2019; Published: June 26, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Brunton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: Monies received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported this research. WM received financial support from NIH R01 AI077519. KR received financial support from NIH T32 GM067795. RB received financial support from NIH T32GM007337. NSB received financial support from NIH AI127481 and AI125446. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Ebola; Viral pathogenesis.



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I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.

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