Intestinal microbiota promote enteric virus replication and systemic pathogenesis

Sharon K. Kuss, Gavin T. Best, Chris A. Etheredge, Andrea J. Pruijssers, Johnna M. Frierson, Lora V. Hooper, Terence S. Dermody, Julie K. Pfeiffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

422 Scopus citations


Intestinal bacteria aid host health and limit bacterial pathogen colonization. However, the influence of bacteria on enteric viruses is largely unknown. We depleted the intestinal microbiota of mice with antibiotics before inoculation with poliovirus, an enteric virus. Antibiotic-treated mice were less susceptible to poliovirus disease and supported minimal viral replication in the intestine. Exposure to bacteria or their N-acetylglucosamine-containing surface polysaccharides, including lipopolysaccharide and peptidoglycan, enhanced poliovirus infectivity. We found that poliovirus binds lipopolysaccharide, and exposure of poliovirus to bacteria enhanced host cell association and infection. The pathogenesis of reovirus, an unrelated enteric virus, also was more severe in the presence of intestinal microbes. These results suggest that antibiotic-mediated microbiota depletion diminishes enteric virus infection and that enteric viruses exploit intestinal microbes for replication and transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-252
Number of pages4
Issue number6053
StatePublished - Oct 14 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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