The virus family Caliciviridae consists of four genera is a family of positive-strand RNA viruses: (1) """"""""Norwalk like viruses"""""""" (with species Norwalk virus) (2) """"""""Sapporo-like viruses"""""""" (with species Sapporo virus); (3) Vesivirus (with species, feline calicivirus and vesicular exanthema of swine virus); and (4) Lagovirus (with species rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus and European brown hare syndrome virus). Norwalk virus (NV) is the prototype strain for the Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs), and was discovered by LID researchers in 1972. The NLVs are the major cause of nonbacterial epidemic gastroenteritis that occurs in family, school, institutional, or community-wide outbreaks, affecting all age groups. The NLVs are genetically diverse and cannot be grown in cell culture, which has been a continuing research obstacle. This year, we continued our work in the development of systems and animal models to study the biology and replication of the NLVs. The systems include: (1) expression of NLV proteins from cloned genes in several different expression vectors for the development of diagnostic assays for use in epidemiologic studies and for the analysis of protein function; and (2) studies using our feline calicivirus (FCV) reverse genetics system that includes an infectious cDNA clone and a permissive cell culture system. There were two calicivirus animal models that were explored further this year: (1) infection of chimpanzees with NLVs from human stool material in preparation for RNA transfection studies using transcripts derived from a full-length cDNA clone; and (2) infection of mink with mink enteric calicivirus (a """"""""Sapporo-like calicivirus"""""""") in an effort to develop a small animal model for calicivirus diarrhea. The long-term goal of this project is to elucidate the role of the NLVs in diarrheal disease and to develop strategies to lessen the disease burden.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Intramural Research (Z01)
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