Ebolavirus is evolving but not changing: No evidence for functional change in EBOV from 1976 to the 2014 outbreak

Olabode, A. S., Jiang, X., Robertson, D. L. and Lovell, S. C. (2015) Ebolavirus is evolving but not changing: No evidence for functional change in EBOV from 1976 to the 2014 outbreak. Virology, 482, pp. 202-207. (doi:10.1016/j.virol.2015.03.029) (PMID:25880111) (PMCID:PMC4503884)

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The 2014 epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has had a devastating impact in West Africa. Sequencing of ebolavirus (EBOV) from infected individuals has revealed extensive genetic variation, leading to speculation that the virus may be adapting to humans, accounting for the scale of the 2014 outbreak. We computationally analyze the variation associated with all EVD outbreaks, and find none of the amino acid replacements lead to identifiable functional changes. These changes have minimal effect on protein structure, being neither stabilizing nor destabilizing, are not found in regions of the proteins associated with known functions and tend to cluster in poorly constrained regions of proteins, specifically intrinsically disordered regions. We find no evidence that the difference between the current and previous outbreaks is due to evolutionary changes associated with transmission to humans. Instead, epidemiological factors are likely to be responsible for the unprecedented spread of EVD.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:AO was supported in part by the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, XJ was supported by MRC (G1001806/1) and Wellcome Trust (097820/Z/11/B) funding to DLR and an award from the Isaac Newton Trust/Wellcome Trust ISSF to John Welch at the University of Cambridge.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robertson, Professor David
Authors: Olabode, A. S., Jiang, X., Robertson, D. L., and Lovell, S. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Virology
ISSN (Online):1096-0341
Published Online:14 April 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Crown Copyright
First Published:First published in Virology 482: 202-207
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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