Interferon λ cures persistent murine norovirus infection in the absence of adaptive immunity

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Science  27 Nov 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258100

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Norovirus gastroenteritis is a major public health burden worldwide. Although fecal shedding is important for transmission of enteric viruses, little is known about the immune factors that restrict persistent enteric infection. We report here that while the cytokines interferon α (IFNα) and IFNβ prevented the systemic spread of murine norovirus (MNoV), only IFNλ controlled persistent enteric infection. Infection-dependent induction of IFNλ was governed by the MNoV capsid protein and correlated with diminished enteric persistence. Treatment of established infection with IFNλ cured mice in a manner requiring non-hematopoietic cell expression of the IFNλ receptor, Ifnlr1, and independent of adaptive immunity. These results suggest the therapeutic potential of IFNλ for curing virus infections in the gastrointestinal tract.

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