Marburg virus (MARV) and Ebola virus (EBOV) are members of the Filoviridae family of viruses and both are highly pathogenic, causing hemorrhagic fever in primates. Both viruses are considered to be extremely dangerous, and there are currently no approved vaccines or antiviral treatments for either of them. In this blog post, we will take a deep dive into the genetic makeup of Marburg and Ebola viruses and how they relate to each other.
Marburg virus was first described in 1967 during an outbreak of Marburg virus disease in the German cities of Marburg and Frankfurt and the Yugoslav capital Belgrade. Laboratory workers were exposed to tissues of infected grivet monkeys at the Behringwerke, a major industrial plant in Marburg which was then part of Hoechst, and later part of CSL Behring. During the outbreaks, thirty-one people became infected and seven of them died.
Marburg virus is a hemorrhagic fever virus of the Filoviridae family of viruses and a member of the species Marburg marburgvirus, genus Marburgvirus. The virus is named after Marburg (the city in Hesse, Germany, where the virus was first discovered) and the taxonomic suffix virus. The virus is approximately 19 kbp long and contains seven genes in the order 3'-UTR-NP-VP35-VP40-GP-VP30-VP24-L-5'-UTR.
Marburgvirions are filamentous particles that may appear in the shape of a shepherd's crook or in the shape of a "U" or a "6", and they may be coiled, toroid, or branched. Marburgvirions are generally 80 nm in width, but vary somewhat in length. In general, the median particle length of marburgviruses ranges from 795 to 828 nm. Marburgvirions consist of seven structural proteins: the helical ribonucleocapsid, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, polymerase cofactor, transcription activator, major matrix protein, minor matrix protein, and glycoprotein.
Ebola virus is also a member of the Filoviridae family of viruses, and it causes Ebola virus disease, which is also a form of viral hemorrhagic fever. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids, and it can cause symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and hemorrhage. There are five species of Ebola virus: Zaire ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, Taï Forest ebolavirus, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, and Reston ebolavirus.
Ebola virions are also filamentous particles that may appear in the shape of a shepherd's crook or in the shape of a "U" or a "6", and they may be coiled, toroid, or branched. Ebola virions are generally larger than marburgvirions, with a median particle length ranging from 974 to 1,086 nm. Like Marburgvirions, Ebola virions consist of seven structural proteins: the helical ribonucleocapsid, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, polymerase cofactor, transcription activator, major matrix protein, minor matrix protein, and glycoprotein.
Genetic Makeup and Relationship Between Marburg and Ebola
Marburg and Ebola viruses are members of the same viral family, Filoviridae, and share many similarities in their genetic makeup. Both viruses have non-infectious, linear nonsegmented, single-stranded RNA genomes of negative polarity that possess inverse-complementary 3' and 5' termini.
The genome of Marburg virus is about 19 kb in size and encodes for 7 structural and non-structural proteins. The genome of Ebola virus is slightly larger, ranging from 18.9 kb to 19.4 kb, and encodes for 7 to 8 proteins. Both viruses have a similar genome organization, with the 3' end of the genome encoding for the nucleoprotein (NP), VP35, VP40, and GP, while the 5' end encodes for the viral polymerase (L) and VP30.
Despite their genetic similarities, there are also some differences between the two viruses. For example, the GP of Ebola virus is more heavily glycosylated than the GP of Marburg virus. Additionally, the L protein of Marburg virus has been shown to be more stable at higher temperatures than the L protein of Ebola virus.
Overall, Marburg and Ebola viruses are closely related genetically and share many common features, but there are also some differences between the two viruses.
The linked articles below can help you as you seek to learn more about Marburg Virus and Ebola:
- Marburg and Ebola: A Case for Increased Funding for Research and Preparedness
- Marburg and Ebola: A Comparison of the Economic Costs of Outbreaks
- Marburg and Ebola: The Psychological Impact on Survivors
- Global Preparedness for Marburg and Ebola Virus Outbreaks
- Marburg and Ebola: The Role of Healthcare Workers
- Marburg and Ebola: A Comparison of Global Response Efforts
- Marburg and Ebola: Lessons Learned from Past Outbreaks
- The Socioeconomic Impact of Marburg and Ebola Outbreaks
- The Ethics of Research on Marburg and Ebola Viruses
- Marburg and Ebola: A Study of Their Genetic Makeup
- The Role of Bats in the Transmission of Marburg and Ebola Viruses
- Marburg and Ebola: Similarities and Differences in Symptoms and Treatment
- Outbreaks of Marburg Virus and Ebola: A Historical Comparison