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Bioinformatics. 2019 Apr 24. pii: btz267. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btz267. [Epub ahead of print]
Is the Bombali virus pathogenic in humans?
Martell HJ1, Masterson SG1, McGreig JE1, Michaelis M1, Wass MN1.
Author information: 1 Industrial Biotechnology Centre and School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NJ, UK.
The potential of the Bombali virus, a novel Ebolavirus, to cause disease in humans remains unknown. We have previously identified potential determinants of Ebolavirus pathogenicity in humans by analysing the amino acid positions that are differentially conserved (specificity determining positions; SDPs) between human pathogenic Ebolaviruses and the non-pathogenic Reston virus. Here, we include the many Ebolavirus genome sequences that have since become available into our analysis and investigate the amino acid sequence of the Bombali virus proteins at the SDPs that discriminate between human pathogenic and non-human pathogenic Ebolaviruses.
The use of 1408 Ebolavirus genomes (196 in the original analysis) resulted in a set of 166 SDPs (reduced from 180), 146 (88%) of which were retained from the original analysis. This indicates the robustness of our approach and refines the set of SDPs that distinguish human pathogenic Ebolaviruses from Reston virus. At SDPs, Bombali virus shared the majority of amino acids with the human pathogenic Ebolaviruses (63.25%). However, for two SDPs in VP24 (M136L, R139S) that have been proposed to be critical for the lack of Reston virus human pathogenicity because they alter the VP24-karyopherin interaction, the Bombali virus amino acids match those of Reston virus. Thus, Bombali virus may not be pathogenic in humans. Supporting this, no Bombali virus-associated disease outbreaks have been reported, although Bombali virus was isolated from fruit bats cohabitating in close contact with humans, and anti-Ebolavirus antibodies that may indicate contact with Bombali virus have been detected in humans.
AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION:
Data files are available from https://github.com/wasslab/EbolavirusSDPsBioinformatics2019.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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PMID: 31093647 DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btz267
Keywords: Ebola; Ebola Bombali Virus.