A Novel Ebola Virus VP40 Matrix Protein-Based Screening for Identification of Novel Candidate Medical Countermeasures

Viruses. 2020 Dec 31;13(1):52. doi: 10.3390/v13010052.


Filoviruses, such as Ebola virus and Marburg virus, are of significant human health concern. From 2013 to 2016, Ebola virus caused 11,323 fatalities in Western Africa. Since 2018, two Ebola virus disease outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo resulted in 2354 fatalities. Although there is progress in medical countermeasure (MCM) development (in particular, vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics), the need for efficacious small-molecule therapeutics remains unmet. Here we describe a novel high-throughput screening assay to identify inhibitors of Ebola virus VP40 matrix protein association with viral particle assembly sites on the interior of the host cell plasma membrane. Using this assay, we screened nearly 3000 small molecules and identified several molecules with the desired inhibitory properties. In secondary assays, one identified compound, sangivamycin, inhibited not only Ebola viral infectivity but also that of other viruses. This finding indicates that it is possible for this new VP40-based screening method to identify highly potent MCMs against Ebola virus and its relatives.

Keywords: Ebola virus; Filoviridae; MCM; Marburg virus; VP40; broad spectrum; filovirus; sangivamycin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Ebolavirus / drug effects*
  • Ebolavirus / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral / drug effects
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / drug therapy
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / virology
  • Humans
  • Medical Countermeasures
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nucleoproteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Nucleoproteins / chemistry
  • Pyrimidine Nucleosides / pharmacology
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Core Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Viral Core Proteins / chemistry
  • Virus Release / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Nucleoproteins
  • Pyrimidine Nucleosides
  • Viral Core Proteins
  • nucleoprotein VP40, Ebola virus
  • sangivamycin