Could the Ebola virus matrix protein VP40 be a drug target?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Filoviruses are filamentous lipid-enveloped viruses and include Ebola (EBOV) and Marburg, which are morphologically identical but antigenically distinct. These viruses can be very deadly with outbreaks of EBOV having clinical fatality as high as 90%. In 2012 there were two separate Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda that resulted in 25 and 4 fatalities, respectively. The lack of preventive vaccines and FDA-approved therapeutics has struck fear that the EBOV could become a pandemic threat. The Ebola genome encodes only seven genes, which mediate the entry, replication, and egress of the virus from the host cell. The EBOV matrix protein is VP40, which is found localized under the lipid envelope of the virus where it bridges the viral lipid envelope and nucleocapsid. VP40 is effectively a peripheral protein that mediates the plasma membrane binding and budding of the virus prior to egress. A number of studies have demonstrated specific deletions or mutations of VP40 to abrogate viral egress but to date pharmacological inhibition of VP40 has not been demonstrated. This editorial highlights VP40, which is the most abundantly expressed protein of the virus and discusses VP40 as a potential therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Ebola
  • Filamentous virus
  • Lipid-protein interaction
  • Oligomerization
  • Plasma membrane
  • Viral assembly
  • Viral budding
  • Virus
  • VP40

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine

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