Murine norovirus (MNoV) infects a low percentage of enteric tuft cells and can persist in these cells for months following acute infection. Both tuft-cell tropism and resistance to interferon-λ (IFN-λ)-mediated clearance during persistent infection requires the viral nonstructural protein 1/2 (NS1/2). We show that processing of NS1/2 yields NS1, an unconventionally secreted viral protein that is central for IFN-λ resistance. MNoV infection globally suppresses intestinal IFN-λ responses, which is attributable to secreted NS1. MNoV NS1 secretion is triggered by caspase-3 cleavage of NS1/2, and a secreted form of human NoV NS1 is also observed. NS1 secretion is essential for intestinal infection and resistance to IFN-λ in vivo. NS1 vaccination alone protects against MNoV challenge, despite the lack of induction of neutralizing anti-capsid antibodies previously shown to confer protection. Thus, despite infecting a low number of tuft cells, NS1 secretion allows MNoV to globally suppress IFN responses and promote persistence.
Keywords: IFN-λ; NS1; norovirus; secretion; vaccine.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.