2018 AMI Online Salon

Targeting Lassa Virus

Project Details

  • Artist(s):  Chris Bickel; Ashland, Virginia
  • Client: Science Magazine
  • Copyright: © 2017 AAAS
  • Medium / software used: Cinema 4D, Chimera, ePMV, Adobe Photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Journal cover
  • Primary audience: Research scientists

Project Description

Lassa fever is a severe, sometimes fatal, hemorrhagic disease. It is caused by the Lassa virus, a single-stranded RNA virus in the arenavirus family. There is no available vaccine. The only antigen on the viral surface is the glycoprotein GPC that engages host cell receptors. Hastie et al. report the high-resolution structure of the trimeric ectodomain of GPC bound to a neutralizing antibody from a human survivor of the disease.

The Lassa virus glycoprotein in its trimeric, viral surface state (orange) is bound to a fragment of a neutralizing antibody from a human survivor (white). A second, empty antibody binding site is illuminated (yellow). The bound antibody bridges different monomers in the trimer to prevent conformational changes required for infection. The crystal structure determined by Hastie et al. provides a template for vaccine development, gives insight into viral entry mechanisms and antibody neutralization and provides a template for vaccine design.