Viral infections cause and/or promote many of humanity's most intractable health problems. Most viral infections can neither be prevented nor cured thus leaving a great need for novel strategies to combat these infectious agents. This proposal seeks to help fill this chasm by investigating our startling recent discovery of the existence of a novel potent innate immune antiviral mechanism. Specifically, using murine rotavirus (RV) infection as a model of an acute diarrhea---inducing infection in young mice and a chronic infection in immune---deficient mice, we recently made the unexpected observation that systemic administration of bacterial flagellin could prevent or eliminate ongoing rotavirus infection. Flagellin's antiviral action was independent of adaptive immunity and interferon (type I and II) while requiring hemopoietic cell expression of both known flagellin receptors, toll---like receptor 5 (TLR5) and Nod---like receptor C4 (NLRC4). Flagellin's blockade of rotavirus infection may be utilizing pathways that normally mediate bacterial---viral competition/crosstalk or prove to be a purely engineered approach that does not mimic a naturally occurring in vivo process. Regardless, that exogenously administered flagellin results in rapid cure of chronic viral infections that would not otherwise be resolved by immune compromised hosts suggests the possibility that this mechanism, if understood and harnessed, might provide new weapons against some of the numerous viruses that continue to plague humanity. Thus, while development of new modalities to treat rotavirus infection is one potential outcome of this project, the primary overall goal of this proposal is to define the mechanism underlying flagellin's antiviral action so it can be harnessed to develop novel strategies to treat a variety of viral infections. We will employ a series of inter---related genetic, immunological and biochemical approaches to define the cell type(s), soluble mediator(s) that cure and prevent RV infection and decipher their mode of action.
Viral infections cause and/or promote many of humanity's most intractable health problems. Most viral infections can neither be prevented nor cured thus leaving a great need for novel strategies to combat these infectious agents. This proposal seeks to define novel strategies to activate endogenous antiviral defense pathways. Such strategies could be used to develop novel treatments for a panoply of viral infections.
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|Zhang, Benyue; Chassaing, Benoit; Shi, Zhenda et al. (2014) Viral infection. Prevention and cure of rotavirus infection via TLR5/NLRC4-mediated production of IL-22 and IL-18. Science 346:861-5|