Ebolaviruses are highly pathogenic in humans and nonhuman primates and pose a severe threat to public health. The interferon-induced transmembrane (IFITM) proteins can restrict entry of ebolaviruses, influenza A viruses, and other enveloped viruses. However, the breadth and mechanism of the antiviral activity of IFITM proteins are incompletely understood. Here, we employed ebolavirus glycoprotein-pseudotyped vectors and ebolavirus-like particles to address this question. We show that IFITM proteins inhibit the cellular entry of diverse ebolaviruses and demonstrate that type I interferon induces IFITM protein expression in macrophages, major viral targets. Moreover, we show that IFITM proteins block entry of influenza A viruses and ebolaviruses by different mechanisms and provide evidence that antibodies and IFITM proteins can synergistically inhibit cellular entry of ebolaviruses. These results provide insights into the role of IFITM proteins in infection by ebolaviruses and suggest a mechanism by which antibodies, though poorly neutralizing in vitro, might contribute to viral control in vivo.
Keywords: Ebola; IFITM; entry; glycoprotein; interferon.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.