Fecal Components Modulate Human Astrovirus Infectivity in Cells and Reconstituted Intestinal Tissues

Francisco J. Pérez-Rodriguez, Gael Vieille, Lara Turin, Soner Yildiz, Caroline Tapparel, Laurent Kaise

Human astroviruses (HAstV) are among the most common causative agents of viral gastroenteritis, especially in children, and extraintestinal manifestations have also been described. These viruses are transmitted by the fecal-oral route, implying that stool composition and the gut microbiota may impact their ability to remain infectious. For some enteric viruses, individual bacterial envelope components and other polysaccharide-containing molecules, which are abundant in stools, have been shown to enhance capsid stability. However, the role of the complex stool environment and, most importantly, the role of interindividual differences have been poorly studied. We used HAstV as a model to investigate how the stool environment in itself, its interindividual variability, and some specific stool components could affect HAstV stability and infectivity. Using two different HAstV genotypes, we found that stools as a whole modulate astrovirus infectivity not only in an individual-dependent manner but also in a manner that depends on the viral genotype. A virus-protective effect was observed after incubation with various Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as with bacterial components, such as lipopolysaccharide and peptidoglycan. These results were further confirmed in human intestinal tissues, a more physiologically relevant system. Astrovirus infectivity was also preserved by mucin, a major component of intestinal mucus. We further confirmed that these components stabilize the viral capsid. These results show that although HAstV benefits from the stabilizing effect of fecal components, the complexity and variability of the stool composition and the multiple potential interactions may explain the interindividual differences in viral transmission observed in real life.


EpiIntestinal (SMI-100), astrovirus, human astrovirus-8 (HAstV-8), HAstV-1, viral infection, E coli, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), peptidoglycan (PGN), heat inactivated bacteria, Feces, enteric virus

Materials Tested

human astrovirus-8 (HAstV-8), HAstV-1, E coli, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), peptidoglycan (PGN)

Request a copy of this paper, click here.