Related enteric viruses have different requirements for host microbiota in mice

Christopher M. Robinson, Mikal A. Woods Acevedo, Broc T. McCune, Julie K. Pfeiffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Accumulating evidence suggests that intestinal bacteria promote enteric virus infection in mice. For example, previous work demonstrated that antibiotic treatment of mice prior to oral infection with poliovirus reduced viral replication and pathogenesis. Here, we examined the effect of antibiotic treatment on infection with coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3), a picornavirus closely related to poliovirus. We treated mice with a mixture of five antibiotics to deplete host microbiota and examined CVB3 replication and pathogenesis following oral inoculation. We found that, as seen with poliovirus, CVB3 shedding and pathogenesis were reduced in antibiotic-treated mice. While treatment with just two antibiotics, vancomycin and ampicillin, was sufficient to reduce CVB3 replication and pathogenesis, this treatment had no effect on poliovirus. The quantity and composition of bacterial communities were altered by treatment with the five-antibiotic cocktail and by treatment with vancomycin and ampicillin. To determine whether more-subtle changes in bacterial populations impact viral replication, we examined viral infection in mice treated with milder antibiotic regimens. Mice treated with one-tenth the standard concentration of the normal antibiotic cocktail supported replication of poliovirus but not CVB3. Importantly, a single dose of one antibiotic, streptomycin, was sufficient to reduce CVB3 shedding and pathogenesis while having no effect on poliovirus shedding and pathogenesis. Overall, replication and pathogenesis of CVB3 are more sensitive to antibiotic treatment than poliovirus, indicating that closely related viruses may differ with respect to their reliance on microbiota. IMPORTANCE Recent data indicate that intestinal bacteria promote intestinal infection of several enteric viruses. Here, we show that coxsackievirus, an enteric virus in the picornavirus family, also relies on microbiota for intestinal replication and pathogenesis. Relatively minor depletion of the microbiota was sufficient to decrease coxsackievirus infection, while poliovirus infection was unaffected. Surprisingly, a single dose of one antibiotic was sufficient to reduce coxsackievirus infection. Therefore, these data indicate that closely related viruses may differ with respect to their reliance on microbiota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01339-19
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Antibiotics
  • Coxsackievirus
  • Enteric viruses
  • Microbiota
  • Poliovirus
  • Viral pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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