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Calcium Ions Directly Interact with the Ebola Virus Fusion Peptide To Promote Structure–Function Changes That Enhance Infection
ACS Infectious Diseases ( IF 4.911 ) Pub Date : 2019-12-10 , DOI: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.9b00296
Lakshmi Nathan, Alex L. Lai, Jean Kaoru Millet, Marco R. Straus, Jack H. Freed, Gary R. Whittaker, Susan Daniel

Ebola virus disease is a serious global health concern given its periodic occurrence, high lethality, and the lack of approved therapeutics. Certain drugs that alter intracellular calcium, particularly in endolysosomes, have been shown to inhibit Ebola virus infection; however, the underlying mechanism is unknown. Here, we provide evidence that Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) infection is promoted in the presence of calcium as a result of the direct interaction of calcium with the EBOV fusion peptide (FP). We identify the glycoprotein residues D522 and E540 in the FP as functionally critical to EBOV’s interaction with calcium. We show using spectroscopic and biophysical assays that interactions of the fusion peptide with Ca2+ ions lead to lipid ordering in the host membrane during membrane fusion, and these changes are promoted at low pH and can be correlated with infectivity. We further demonstrate using circular dichroism spectroscopy that calcium interaction with the fusion peptide promotes α-helical structure of the fusion peptide, a conformational change that enhances membrane fusion, as validated using functional assays of membrane fusion. This study shows that calcium directly targets the Ebola virus fusion peptide and influences its conformation. As these residues are highly conserved across the Filoviridae, calcium’s impact on fusion, and subsequently infectivity, is a key interaction that can be leveraged for developing strategies to defend against Ebola infection. This mechanistic insight provides a rationale for the use of calcium-interfering drugs already approved by the FDA as therapeutics against Ebola and enables further development of novel drugs to combat the virus.
更新日期:2019-12-11

 

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