The Importance of Ebola

Ulrich Melcher umelcher at
Tue May 16 09:20:07 EST 1995

jicrober at (Stargazer) wrote:
>	To whomever posted concerning a possible plant host for Ebola virus,
>an interesting article you may want to have a look at:
>	Regnery, R.L., Johnson, K.M., Kiley, M.P.  Virion nucleic acid of
>Ebola virus.  J.Virol.  36:465-469, 1980.
>	This article points out several similarities in the sequence analysis
>of Ebola, Marburg, and Rhabdoviruses (common in plants).  As far as I have
>seen, nothing has been found, but it is an interesting idea nonetheless.

So, I had a look at the article.  The above summary is a gross exageration of the content of the article.  The article characterizes the Ebola RNA and concludes that it is probably negative sense and because of size and polarity may be distantly related to rhabdoviruses.  There is no sequence information (that was 1980, 15 years ago).  The sequence information available now (L protein of Marburg filovirus) suggests a closer relation to a different group of negative strand viruses, the paramyxoviridae.  The observation that rhabdoviruses include several phytorabdoviruses and that the polymerase L protein of SYNV is more closely related (judged only by results of a Blast search) to the Marburg protein than the L's of other rhabdoviruses is thus irrelevant and should not be taken as evidence for a plant origin for the filoviruses.

Ulrich Melcher
Dept Biochem & Mol Biol
Oklahoma State Univ.

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