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  UCSC Ebola Genome Portal Resources for the 2014 West Africa Outbreak


The 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa has stirred international response and renewed efforts to develop effective preventative and treatment options. In response to a request for help from vaccine researchers, we have fast-tracked the UCSC Ebola Genome Browser built with viral sequences from previous outbreaks as well as the 2014 outbreak. This site also provides related tools and information that can be used to further the understanding of Ebola.

Explore the Ebola Genome with the UCSC Browser

Learn about the 2014 outbreak

Read about Ebola

Related Publications and Data Resources

NCBI sequence database search, publication list, and genome display: NCBI Virus Variation Ebolavirus Resource

Virus Pathogen Resource: VIPR Ebolavirus resource (tools for sequence and structure analysis, comparative genomics and phenotype studies)

Swiss Bioinformatics Institute ViralZone: ViralZone Ebolavirus molecular biology (molecular and epidemiological information with links to SwissProt/UniProt proteins)

PLOS Ebola Flipboard: PLOS Ebola Collection (all currently published articles, freely available)

Science Magazine collection: Science Magazine Special Collection: Ebola Virus (freely available research and news articles)

The New England Journal of Medicine resource: NEJM Ebola Outbreak (A collection of articles and other resources on the Ebola outbreak, including clinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary.)

Ebola Biology

Ebola virus is the causative agent of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), a disease affecting humans and other primates. The incubation period for EHF is 2-21 days and typical early symptoms include fever, chills, malaise, and myalgia, followed by the onset of symptoms indicative of multi-organ stress and subsequent failure. The disease is also characterized by high death rates (as high as 90%) and worse yet, is highly contagious, spreading through direct contact with infected body fluids or skin/mucus membrane contact. This perfect storm of conditions make the possibility of a large-scale epidemic a very real concern.

Ebola virus and the related Marburg virus are members of the family Filoviridae, so named for their filamentous shape. Like other Filoviruses, Ebola is an enveloped, non-segmented, negative-stranded RNA virus. Ebola virus particles have at their core a viral nucleocapsid composed of a helical single stranded RNA genome wrapped around viral proteins NP, VP35, VP30, and L. The nucleocapsid is surrounded by an outer viral envelope studded with viral glycoprotein (GP) spikes, and viral proteins VP40 and VP24 sit between the nucleocapsid and the envelope.

The viral life cycle begins with host cell entry through a poorly understood mechanism. Once inside the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (L) binds the 19 kb genome as a complex with other factors and transcribes the negative strand genome into a positive strand mRNA to be translated by the host cell's machinery. The seven genes are ordered in the genome as follows: 3-leader-NP-VP35-VP40-GP/sGP-VP30-VP24-L-trailer-5'. Once the concentration of nucleocapsid protein (NP) reaches a sufficient level, the RNA polymerase switches modes to genome replication, producing full-length positive strand genomes to be transcribed into negative orientation. These genomes self assemble with other virus proteins and bud from the host cell, sheathed in host cell membrane, thus completing the cycle.

Antibody Resources

UC Santa Cruz is collecting sequence data and facilitating survivor blood sample exchange between researchers. If you have sequence or blood samples that you would be willing to share with other researchers please contact: kent@soe.ucsc.edu

Below we list papers and other resources related to antibody use in the treatment and vaccine development for Ebola Virus Disease. Additional references and detail can be found in our Antibody Resources Working Spreadsheet.

Literature links from Reported functional EBOV-related B cell epitopes (Table 2) on the Immune Epitope Database and Analysis Resource (IEDB) website: