The cyanobacterial lectin scytovirin displays potent in vitro and in vivo activity against Zaire Ebola virus

Aura R. Garrison, Barbara G. Giomarelli, Calli M. Lear-Rooney, Carrie J. Saucedo, Srikanth Yellayi, Lauren R.H. Krumpe, Maura Rose, Jason Paragas, Mike Bray, Gene G. Olinger, James B. McMahon, John Huggins, Barry R. O'Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The cyanobacterial lectin scytovirin (SVN) binds with high affinity to mannose-rich oligosaccharides on the envelope glycoprotein (GP) of a number of viruses, blocking entry into target cells. In this study, we assessed the ability of SVN to bind to the envelope GP of Zaire Ebola virus (ZEBOV) and inhibit its replication. SVN interacted specifically with the protein's mucin-rich domain. In cell culture, it inhibited ZEBOV replication with a 50% virus-inhibitory concentration (EC50) of 50 nM, and was also active against the Angola strain of the related Marburg virus (MARV), with a similar EC50. Injected subcutaneously in mice, SVN reached a peak plasma level of 100 nm in 45 min, but was cleared within 4 h. When ZEBOV-infected mice were given 30 mg/kg/day of SVN by subcutaneous injection every 6 h, beginning the day before virus challenge, 9 of 10 animals survived the infection, while all infected, untreated mice died. When treatment was begun one hour or one day after challenge, 70-90% of mice survived. Quantitation of infectious virus and viral RNA in samples of serum, liver and spleen collected on days 2 and 5 postinfection showed a trend toward lower titers in treated than control mice, with a significant decrease in liver titers on day 2. Our findings provide further evidence of the potential of natural lectins as therapeutic agents for viral infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAntiviral research
StatePublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Ebola
  • Lectin
  • Natural product
  • Scytovirin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Virology


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