Species-Specific Evolution of Ebola Virus during Replication in Human and Bat Cells

Zachary J. Whitfield, Abhishek N. Prasad, Adam J. Ronk, Ivan V. Kuzmin, Philipp A. Ilinykh, Raul Andino, Alexander Bukreyev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Ebola virus (EBOV) causes a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates. Within the past decade, EBOV has caused two large and difficult-to-control outbreaks, one of which recently ended in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bats are the likely reservoir of EBOV, but little is known of their relationship with the virus. We perform serial passages of EBOV in human and bat cells and use circular sequencing to compare the short-term evolution of the virus. Virus populations passaged in bat cells have sequence markers indicative of host RNA editing enzyme activity, including evidence for ADAR editing of the EBOV glycoprotein. Multiple regions in the EBOV genome appear to have undergone adaptive evolution when passaged in bat and human cells. Individual mutated viruses are rescued and characterized. Our results provide insight into the host species-specific evolution of EBOV and highlight the adaptive flexibility of the virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108028
JournalCell Reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 18 2020


  • ADAR
  • Ebola virus
  • bats
  • emerging viruses
  • evolution
  • filovirus
  • population genetics
  • reservoir biology
  • viral evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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