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Norovirus regulation via bacterial modulation of interferon-lambda

Baldridge, Megan T
Washington University
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PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT Norovirus is the leading cause of epidemic gastroenteritis worldwide, but lacks an effective vaccine orantiviral treatment. After infection, virus can be shed chronically for weeks to months, potentially contributing tofuture outbreaks. A small animal model for persistent norovirus infection revealed that the commensal bacterialmicrobiome enhances norovirus infection. Interferon-lambda (IFN-?), an innate immune cytokine, plays animportant role in this process via an unclear mechanism. IFN-? stimulates antiviral signaling on intestinalepithelial cells, the same cells infected by persistent norovirus in vivo, and can prevent or cure infection.Commensal bacteria may therefore promote norovirus infection by preventing host IFN-? responses to virus.Recent data also revealed that altered microbial communities in immunocompromised mice are associated withexcessive IFN-? and norovirus resistance. A unifying hypothesis for these findings is that specific bacteriadiminish or enhance the capacity of intestinal epithelial cells to generate IFN-? to regulate norovirus. Identification of specific commensal bacteria that promote norovirus is critical to understanding in vivoviral regulation. Dilutional fecal transplants and colonization experiments revealed a promising bacterialcandidate; comparison of this candidate to a related species that does not promote norovirus will highlightbacterial phenotypic characteristics determining viral infection. The effects of this bacteria on specificmetabolites, as well as assessment of its localization in proximity to norovirus-infected cells in vivo, will beexplored. This proposal will also evaluate how this candidate bacteria regulates norovirus-permissive tuft cells.Preliminary data indicates that bacterial products prevent IFN-? induction by norovirus in vitro. Reporter mice willbe used to assay in vivo regulation of interferon signaling and viral infection by bacteria. The mechanisms bywhich bacteria alter transcriptional responses to virus will also be interrogated in a novel in vitro intestinalepithelial cell model. Finally, a fecal factor in immunocompromised mice confers norovirus resistance whentransferred, and correlates with excessive IFN-? and altered intestinal bacteria. The role of IFN-? in this viralresistance will be tested using mouse lines lacking the IFN-?-receptor, and the transferable factor will beidentified by treating transferred material and testing candidate isolates. Because the immunocompromised micehave broad adaptive immune defects, different adaptive immune factors will be tested for their regulation of themicrobiome and the transferable factor. Completion of this proposal will provide mechanistic understanding into the regulation of intestinal innateimmune signaling and norovirus infection by commensal bacteria. These studies will reveal bacteria withmodulatory effects on the intestinal epithelium to adapt for probiotic strategies to combat enteric viruses.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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Bacterial Pathogens