Multiple viral proteins and immune response pathways act to generate robust long-term immunity in Sudan virus survivors

Ariel Sobarzo, Spencer W. Stonier, Olga Radinsky, Sigal Gelkop, Ana I. Kuehne, Avishay Edri, Andrew S. Herbert, Shlomit Fedida-Metula, Julius Julian Lutwama, Victoria Yavelsky, Claytus Davis, Angel Porgador, John M. Dye, Leslie Lobel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Profiles of immunity developed in filovirus patients and survivors have begun to shed light on antigen-specific cellular immune responses that had been previously under-studied. However, our knowledge of the breadth and length of those responses and the viral targets which mediate long-term memory immunity still lags significantly behind. Methods: We characterized antigen-specific immune responses in whole blood samples of fifteen years post-infected survivors of the Sudan virus (SUDV) outbreak in Gulu, Uganda (2000−2001). We examined T cell and IgG responses against SUDV complete antigen and four SUDV proteins; glycoprotein (GP), nucleoprotein (NP), and viral protein 30 (VP30), and 40 (VP40). Findings: We found survivors-maintained antigen-specific CD4+ T cell memory immune responses mediated mainly by the viral protein NP. In contrast, activated CD8+ T cell responses were nearly absent in SUDV survivors, regardless of the stimulating antigen used. Analysis of anti-viral humoral immunity revealed antigen-specific IgG antibodies against SUDV and SUDV proteins. Survivor IgGs mediated live SUDV neutralization in vitro and FcγRI and FcγRIII antibody Fc-dependent responses, mainly via antibodies to the viral proteins GP and VP40. Interpretation: We highlight the key role of several proteins, i.e., GP, NP, and VP40, to act as mediators of distinctive and sustained cellular memory immune responses in long-term SUDV survivors. We suggest that the inclusion of these viral proteins in vaccine development may best mimic survivor native memory immune responses with the potential of protecting against viral infection. Funds: This research was funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (CB4088) and by the National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AI111516. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Antigen-specific memory immunity
  • Long-term survivors
  • Sudan virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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