Dendritic cells generated from Mops condylurus, a likely filovirus reservoir host, are susceptible to and activated by Zaire ebolavirus infection

Kathryn M. Edenborough, Marcel Bokelmann, Angelika Lander, Emmanuel Couacy-Hymann, Johanna Lechner, Oliver Drechsel, Bernhard Y. Renard, Aleksandar Radonić, Heinz Feldmann, Andreas Kurth, Joseph Prescott

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Ebola virus infection of human dendritic cells (DCs) induces atypical adaptive immune responses and thereby exacerbates Ebola virus disease (EVD). Human DCs, infected with Ebola virus aberrantly express low levels of the DC activation markers CD80, CD86, and MHC class II. The T cell responses ensuing are commonly anergic rather than protective against EVD. We hypothesize that DCs derived from potential reservoir hosts such as bats, which do not develop disease signs in response to Ebola virus infection, would exhibit features associated with activation. In this study, we have examined Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) infection of DCs derived from the Angolan free-tailed bat species, Mops condylurus. This species was previously identified as permissive to EBOV infection in vivo, in the absence of disease signs. M. condylurus has also been recently implicated as the reservoir host for Bombali ebolavirus, a virus species that is closely related to EBOV. Due to the absence of pre-existing M. condylurus species-specific reagents, we characterized its de novo assembled transcriptome and defined its phylogenetic similarity to other mammals, which enabled the identification of cross-reactive reagents for M. condylurus bone marrow-derived DC (bat-BMDC) differentiation and immune cell phenotyping. Our results reveal that bat-BMDCs are susceptible to EBOV infection as determined by detection of EBOV specific viral RNA (vRNA). vRNA increased significantly 72 h after EBOV-infection and was detected in both cells and in culture supernatants. Bat-BMDC infection was further confirmed by the observation of GFP expression in DC cultures infected with a recombinant GFP-EBOV. Bat-BMDCs upregulated CD80 and chemokine ligand 3 (CCL3) transcripts in response to EBOV infection, which positively correlated with the expression levels of EBOV vRNA. In contrast to the aberrant responses to EBOV infection that are typical for human-DC, our findings from bat-BMDCs provide evidence for an immunological basis of asymptomatic EBOV infection outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2414
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

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