Zaire Ebolavirus (EBOV)

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Domain; Phylum; Class; Order; Family [Others may be used. Use NCBI link to find]

Genus Species

Zaire Ebolavirus

Kingdom: (none)

Realm: Riboviria

Phylum: Negarnaviricota

Class: Monjiviricetes

Order: Mononegavirales

Family: Filoviridae

Genus: Ebolavirus

Species: Zaire Ebolavirus

NCBI: Taxonomy

Genus species

Description and Significance

Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV)is a pathogen that is a parasite to humans. Parasitism is an ecological relationship where one organism is benefitted while the other is harmed. This species of Ebola virus disease is also associated with the highest mortality rates (~20-90%)(1), with the Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) being the next highest fatal.


EBOV is a negative-sense, single-stranded RNA. It contains an envelope, matrix, and nucleocapsid. (1) The EBOV genome is about 19 kb in length and encodes for seven structural proteins. (2) The protein is assembled into a helical nucleocapsid, which then catalyzes the replication and transcription of the genome. (2) CpG is a dinucleotide sequence of 5’ to 3’ cytosine-guanine and is used in research for cancer and immunotherapy. (6)

Cell Structure, Metabolism and Life Cycle EBOV is an RNA virus that begins with limited coding capabilities and enters the host cell through interaction with the host’s cell surface T-immunoglobins. (7) After receptor binding, the EBOV is internalized via micropinocytosis and GP1 is cleaved into a smaller form before the residues in the binding sites are exposed. (7) Once inside the host cell cytoplasm, it hijacks the transcription and translation process to replicate the genome and produce new virions. (7) VP30 is a ribonucleoprotein that is an important mechanism in regulating transcription and translation during the EBOV replication cycle. (7)

Ecology and Known Roles in Symbiosis

This microbe is found all over the human body. It plays a symbiotic role in digestion as well. It plays no role on the outside of our skin unless irritated. Once irritated it causes circular rashes in the skin and red sores that are painless. Its sister species however does play a crucial role in symbiotic cycles. This certain sister species of yeast emerges as hidden third partner in lichen symbiosis. Letharia vulpina, often found in Montana forests, is one of many lichen species worldwide that houses yeast as a third symbiotic partner.

Fun Facts

EBOV is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids and/or blood of an infected person. It can be spread very easily through close contact with said infected persons. (4) EBOV is also a severe acute viral infection easily mistaken for other viral diseases like typhoid fever, cholera, hepatitis, etc. (4) In 2014, there were 11 confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease in the U.S., with only two deaths as a result. (5) There is currently no vaccine for Ebola virus disease, and it is endemic to central Africa. Since there is no vaccine for the infection it is classified as a category A bioterrorism agent.


Kadanali, A., & Karagoz, G. (2015). An overview of Ebola virus disease. Northern clinics of Istanbul, 2(1), 81–86. doi:10.14744/nci.2015.97269 Nanbo, A., Watanabe, S., Halfmann, P., & Kawaoka, Y. (2013). The spatio-temporal distribution dynamics of Ebola virus proteins and RNA in infected cells. Scientific reports, 3, 1206. doi:10.1038/srep01206 Khalafallah, M. T., Aboshady, O. A., Moawed, S. A., & Ramadan, M. S. (2017). Ebola virus disease: Essential clinical knowledge. Avicenna journal of medicine, 7(3), 96–102. doi:10.4103/ajm.AJM_150_16 MUSC Center for Global Health. (n.d.).

2014-2016 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. (2019).

Swetha, R. G., Ramaiah, S., Anbarasu, A., & Sekar, K. (2016). Ebolavirus Database: Gene and Protein Information Resource for Ebolaviruses. Advances in bioinformatics, 2016, 1673284. doi:10.1155/2016/1673284

Lai, K.Y., Ng, W.Y.G. & Cheng, F.F. Human Ebola virus infection in West Africa: a review of available therapeutic agents that target different steps of the life cycle of Ebola virus. Infect Dis Poverty 3, 43 (2014).


This page was authored by Ariel Riley as part of the 2020 UM Study USA led by Dr. Erik Hom at the University of Mississippi.