Natural History and Pathogenesis of Wild-Type Marburg Virus Infection in STAT2 Knockout Hamsters

J Infect Dis. 2018 Nov 22;218(suppl_5):S438-S447. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy457.


Marburg virus (MARV; family Filoviridae) causes sporadic outbreaks of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in sub-Saharan Africa with case fatality rates reaching 90%. Wild-type filoviruses, including MARV and the closely related Ebola virus, are unable to suppress the type I interferon response in rodents, and therefore require adaptation of the viruses to cause disease in immunocompetent animals. In the current study, we demonstrate that STAT2 knockout Syrian hamsters are susceptible to infection with different wild-type MARV variants. MARV Musoke causes a robust and systemic infection resulting in lethal disease. Histopathological findings share features similar to those observed in human patients and other animal models of filovirus infection. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis of host transcripts shows a dysregulation of the innate immune response. Our results demonstrate that the STAT2 knockout hamster represents a novel small animal model of severe MARV infection and disease without the requirement for virus adaptation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cricetinae
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Male
  • Marburg Virus Disease / etiology*
  • Marburg Virus Disease / immunology
  • Marburg Virus Disease / pathology
  • STAT2 Transcription Factor / physiology*


  • Cytokines
  • STAT2 Transcription Factor