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Family Filoviridae
Virus classification
Group: Group V ((-)ssRNA)
Order: Mononegavirales
Family: Filoviridae

The Biosafety Level 4-equivalent containment),[4] National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Category A Priority Pathogens,[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Category A Bioterrorism Agents,[6] and listed as Biological Agents for Export Control by the Australia Group.[7] It is expected that cuevaviruses [8] will be classified in a similar way in the near future.


  • Use of term 1
    • Note 1.1
  • Family inclusion criteria 2
  • Family organization 3
    • Nomenclature below species level 3.1
  • Phylogenetics 4
  • Life cycle 5
  • Paleovirology 6
  • Vaccines and concerns 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Use of term

The family Filoviridae is a virological taxon that was created in 1982[2] and emended in 1991,[9] 1998,[10] 2000,[11] 2005,[12] 2010[8] and 2011.[13] The family currently includes the three virus genera Cuevavirus, Ebolavirus, and Marburgvirus and is included in the order Mononegavirales.[8] The members of the family (i.e. the actual physical entities) are called filoviruses or filovirids.[8] The name Filoviridae is derived from the Latin noun filum (alluding to the filamentous morphology of filovirions) and the taxonomic suffix -viridae (which denotes a virus family).[2]


Filoviridae is pronounced ˌfiːloʊ’viːrɨdɛ (IPA) or fee-loh-vee-ri-deh in English phonetic notation.[8] According to the rules for taxon naming established by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), the name Filoviridae is always to be capitalized, italicized, never abbreviated, and to be preceded by the word "family". The names of its members (filoviruses/filovirids) are to be written in lower case, are not italicized, and used without articles.[8][13]

Family inclusion criteria

A virus that fulfills the criteria for being a member of the order Mononegavirales is a member of the family Filoviridae if[8][13]

Family organization

Family Filoviridae: genera, species, and viruses
Genus name Species name Virus name (Abbreviation)
Cuevavirus Lloviu cuevavirus* Lloviu virus (LLOV)
Ebolavirus Bundibugyo ebolavirus Bundibugyo virus (BDBV; previously BEBOV)
Reston ebolavirus Reston virus (RESTV; previously REBOV)
Sudan ebolavirus Sudan virus (SUDV; previously SEBOV)
Taï Forest ebolavirus Taï Forest virus (TAFV; previously CIEBOV)
Zaire ebolavirus* Ebola virus (EBOV; previously ZEBOV)
Marburgvirus Marburg marburgvirus* Marburg virus (MARV)
Ravn virus (RAVV)

Table legend: "*" denotes type species.

Nomenclature below species level

Recommendations have been made for the identification of these viruses below the species level.[14] These include the use of virus name / strain / isolation host-suffix / country of sampling / year of sampling / genetic variant designation / isolate designation. The use of the suffix "rec" is recommended if the virus has been identified via recombinant DNA.


The mutation rates in these genomes have been estimated to be between 0.46 × 10−4 and 8.21 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions/year.[15] The most recent common ancestor of both the Reston and Zaire species has been estimated to be ~1960. The most recent common ancestor of the Marburg and Sudan species appears to have evolved 700 and 850 years before present respectively. Although mutational clocks placed the divergence time of extant filoviruses at ~10,000 years before the present, dating of orthologous endogenous elements (paleoviruses) in the genomes of hamsters and voles indicated that the extant genera of filovirids had a common ancestor at least as old as the Miocene (~16-23 million or so years ago).[16]

Life cycle

The filovirus life cycle begins with virion attachment to specific cell-surface receptors, followed by fusion of the virion envelope with cellular membranes and the concomitant release of the virus nucleocapsid into the cytosol. The viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp, or RNA replicase) partially uncoats the nucleocapsid and transcribes the genes into positive-stranded mRNAs, which are then translated into structural and nonstructural proteins. Filovirus RdRps bind to a single promoter located at the 3' end of the genome. Transcription either terminates after a gene or continues to the next gene downstream. This means that genes close to the 3' end of the genome are transcribed in the greatest abundance, whereas those toward the 5' end are least likely to be transcribed. The gene order is therefore a simple but effective form of transcriptional regulation. The most abundant protein produced is the nucleoprotein, whose concentration in the cell determines when the RdRp switches from gene transcription to genome replication. Replication results in full-length, positive-stranded antigenomes that are in turn transcribed into negative-stranded virus progeny genome copies. Newly synthesized structural proteins and genomes self-assemble and accumulate near the inside of the cell membrane. Virions bud off from the cell, gaining their envelopes from the cellular membrane they bud from. The mature progeny particles then infect other cells to repeat the cycle.[12]


Filoviruses have a history that dates back several tens of million of years. Endogenous viral elements (EVEs) that appear to be derived from filovirus-like viruses have been identified in the genomes of bats, rodents, shrews, tenrecs, tarsiers, and marsupials.[17][18][19] Although most filovirus-like EVEs appear to be pseudogenes, evolutionary analyses suggest that orthologs isolated from several species of the bat genus Myotis have been maintained by selection.[20]

Vaccines and concerns

There are presently no vaccines for known filovirus.[21] There has been a pressing concern that a very slight genetic mutation to a filovirus such as EBOV could result in a change in transmission system from direct body fluid transmission to airborne transmission, as was seen in the Reston strain of EBOV between infected macaques. A similar change in the current circulating strains of EBOV (which in the Reston strain, had the same genotype), would greatly increase the infection and disease rates caused by EBOV. However, there is no record of any virus ever having made this transition in humans.[22]


  1. ^ WHO. "Ebola virus disease". 
  2. ^ a b c Kiley MP, Bowen ET, Eddy GA, Isaäcson M, Johnson KM, McCormick JB, Murphy FA, Pattyn SR, Peters D, Prozesky OW, Regnery RL, Simpson DI, Slenczka W, Sureau P, van der Groen G, Webb PA, Wulff H (1982). "Filoviridae: A taxonomic home for Marburg and Ebola viruses?". Intervirology 18 (1–2): 24–32.  
  3. ^ US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "National Select Agent Registry (NSAR)". Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  4. ^ US Department of Health and Human Services. "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition". Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  5. ^ US National Institutes of Health (NIH), US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). "Biodefense — NIAID Category A, B, and C Priority Pathogens". Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  6. ^ US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Bioterrorism Agents/Diseases". Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  7. ^ The Australia Group. "List of Biological Agents for Export Control". Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Kuhn JH, Becker S, Ebihara H, Geisbert TW, Johnson KM, Kawaoka Y, Lipkin WI, Negredo AI, Netesov SV, Nichol ST, Palacios G, Peters CJ, Tenorio A, Volchkov VE, Jahrling PB (2010). "Proposal for a revised taxonomy of the family Filoviridae: Classification, names of taxa and viruses, and virus abbreviations". Archives of Virology 155 (12): 2083–2103.  
  9. ^ McCormick, J. B. (1991). "Family Filoviridae". In Francki, R. I. B.; Fauquet, C. M.; Knudson, D. L.; et al. Classification and Nomenclature of Viruses-Fifth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Archives of Virology Supplement 2. Vienna, Austria: Springer. pp. 247–49.  
  10. ^ Jahrling, P. B.; Kiley, M. P.; Klenk, H.-D.; Peters, C. J.; Sanchez, A.; Swanepoel, R. (1995). "Family Filoviridae". In Murphy, F. A.; Fauquet, C. M.; Bishop, D. H. L.; Ghabrial, S. A.; Jarvis, A. W.; Martelli, G. P.; Mayo, M. A.; Summers, M. D. Virus Taxonomy—Sixth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Archives of Virology Supplement 10. Vienna, Austria: Springer. pp. 289–92.  
  11. ^ Netesov, S.V.; Feldmann, H.; Jahrling, P. B.; Klenk, H. D.; Sanchez, A. (2000). "Family Filoviridae". In van Regenmortel, M. H. V.; Fauquet, C. M.; Bishop, D. H. L.; Carstens, E. B.; Estes, M. K.; Lemon, S. M.; Maniloff, J.; Mayo, M. A.; McGeoch, D. J.; Pringle, C. R.; Wickner, R. B. Virus Taxonomy—Seventh Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. San Diego, USA: Academic Press. pp. 539–48.  
  12. ^ a b Feldmann, H.; Geisbert, T. W.; Jahrling, P. B.; Klenk, H.-D.; Netesov, S. V.; Peters, C. J.; Sanchez, A.; Swanepoel, R.; Volchkov, V. E. (2005). "Family Filoviridae". In Fauquet, C. M.; Mayo, M. A.; Maniloff, J.; Desselberger, U.; Ball, L. A. Virus Taxonomy—Eighth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. San Diego, USA: Elsevier/Academic Press. pp. 645–653.  
  13. ^ a b c Kuhn, J. H.; Becker, S.; Ebihara, H.; Geisbert, T. W.; Jahrling, P. B.; Kawaoka, Y.; Netesov, S. V.; Nichol, S. T.; Peters, C. J.; Volchkov, V. E.; Ksiazek, T. G. (2011). "Family Filoviridae". In King, Andrew M. Q.; Adams, Michael J.; Carstens, Eric B.; et al. Virus Taxonomy—Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. London, UK: Elsevier/Academic Press. pp. 665–671.  
  14. ^ Kuhn JH, Bào Y, Bavari S, Becker S, Bradfute S, Brauburger K, Rodney Brister J, Bukreyev AA, Caì Y, Chandran K, Davey RA, Dolnik O, Dye JM, Enterlein S, Gonzalez JP, Formenty P, Freiberg AN, Hensley LE, Hoenen T, Honko AN, Ignatyev GM, Jahrling PB, Johnson KM, Klenk HD, Kobinger G, Lackemeyer MG, Leroy EM, Lever MS, Mühlberger E, Netesov SV, Olinger GG, Palacios G, Patterson JL, Paweska JT, Pitt L, Radoshitzky SR, Ryabchikova EI, Saphire EO, Shestopalov AM, Smither SJ, Sullivan NJ, Swanepoel R, Takada A, Towner JS, van der Groen G, Volchkov VE, Volchkova VA, Wahl-Jensen V, Warren TK, Warfield KL, Weidmann M, Nichol ST (November 2013). "Virus nomenclature below the species level: a standardized nomenclature for filovirus strains and variants rescued from cDNA". Arch. Virol. 159 (5): 1229–37.  
  15. ^ Carroll SA, Towner JS, Sealy TK, McMullan LK, Khristova ML, Burt FJ, Swanepoel R, Rollin PE, Nichol ST (March 2013). "Molecular evolution of viruses of the family Filoviridae based on 97 whole-genome sequences". J. Virol. 87 (5): 2608–16.  
  16. ^ Taylor, D. J.; Ballinger, M. J.; Zhan, J. J.; Hanzly, L. E.; Bruenn, J. A. (2014). "Evidence that ebolaviruses and cuevaviruses have been diverging from marburgviruses since the Miocene". PeerJ 2: e556.  
  17. ^ Taylor DJ, Leach RW, Bruenn J (2010). "Filoviruses are ancient and integrated into mammalian genomes". BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 193.  
  18. ^ Belyi VA, Levine AJ, Skalka AM (2010). Buchmeier, ed. "Unexpected Inheritance: Multiple Integrations of Ancient Bornavirus and Ebolavirus/Marburgvirus Sequences in Vertebrate Genomes". PLoS Pathogens 6 (7): e1001030.  
  19. ^ Katzourakis A, Gifford RJ (2010). "Endogenous Viral Elements in Animal Genomes". PLoS Genetics 6 (11): e1001191.  
  20. ^ Taylor DJ, Dittmar K, Ballinger MJ, Bruenn JA (2011). "Evolutionary maintenance of filovirus-like genes in bat genomes". BMC Evolutionary Biology 11 (336): 336.  
  21. ^ Peters CJ, LeDuc JW (February 1999). "An Introduction to Ebola: The Virus and the Disease".  
  22. ^ Kelland, Kate (19 September 2014). "Scientists see risk of mutant airborne Ebola as remote".  

Further reading

  • Klenk, Hans-Dieter (1999). Marburg and Ebola Viruses. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 235. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.  
  • Klenk, Hans-Dieter; Feldmann, Heinz (2004). Ebola and Marburg Viruses—Molecular and Cellular Biology. Wymondham, Norfolk, UK: Horizon Bioscience.  
  • Kuhn, Jens H. (2008). Filoviruses—A Compendium of 40 Years of Epidemiological, Clinical, and Laboratory Studies. Archives of Virology Supplement 20. Vienna, Austria: Springer.  
  • Ryabchikova, Elena I.; Price, Barbara B. (2004). Ebola and Marburg Viruses—A View of Infection Using Electron Microscopy. Columbus, Ohio, USA: Battelle Press.  

External links

  • International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV)
  • "Filoviridae". NCBI Taxonomy Browser. 11266. 
  • "FILOVIR". scientific resources for research on filoviruses. 
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