New study unveils Ebola virus cell infection mechanism

CCZ1 revealed as essential lysosomal regulator in virus infections.

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This study focuses on the dangerous Marburg and Ebola viruses, which have caused deadly outbreaks in recent years. While we know about some factors that help these viruses enter our cells, there’s still a lot we don’t understand.

In a recent study published in Nature Communications, scientists from Karolinska Institutet and the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology have discovered a new molecule in cells crucial for Ebola and Marburg viruses to infect and spread within the body. 

This molecule, known as CCZ1, is a protein that controls the movement of other molecules in cells. Additionally, the researchers found that CCZ1 is also associated with SARS-CoV-2 infections, which could lead to new ways of combating various viruses. They found that CCZ1 is essential for Marburg and Ebola viruses to infect human liver cells and blood vessels, two important targets for these viruses.

In this study, researchers utilized advanced stem cell libraries and laboratory-grown mini-organs called organoids. They focused on how the virus infects human blood vessels and liver organoids, revealing that CCZ1 is vital in the virus’s spread and replication.

These findings have the potential to lead to new treatments for Ebola and Marburg viruses, known for causing hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates. They plan to use this unique platform to identify more critical molecules for viral infections and develop new antiviral drugs.

The study received funding from the EU and the Swedish Research Council.

The study’s outcomes could pave the way for novel therapies for Ebola virus infections. Moreover, the research platform used in this study can be applied to investigate other viral infections and identify molecules critical for their spread and replication. This approach may lead to the development of new antiviral treatments.

Journal reference:

  1. Vanessa Monteil, Hyesoo Kwon, et al., Identification of CCZ1 as an essential lysosomal trafficking regulator in Marburg and Ebola virus infections. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-42526-6.
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