Noroviruses are a leading cause of gastrointestinal infection in humans and mice. Understanding human norovirus (HuNoV) cell tropism has important implications for our understanding of viral pathogenesis. Murine norovirus (MNoV) is extensively used as a surrogate model for HuNoV. We previously identified CD300lf as the receptor for MNoV. Here, we generated a Cd300lf conditional knockout (CD300lfF/F) mouse to elucidate the cell tropism of persistent and nonpersistent strains of murine norovirus. Using this mouse model, we demonstrated that CD300lf expression on intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), and on tuft cells in particular, is essential for transmission of the persistent MNoV strain CR6 (MNoVCR6) in vivo. In contrast, the nonpersistent MNoV strain CW3 (MNoVCW3) does not require CD300lf expression on IECs for infection. However, deletion of CD300lf in myelomonocytic cells (LysM Cre1) partially reduces CW3 viral load in lymphoid and intestinal tissues. Disruption of CD300lf expression on B cells (CD19 Cre), neutrophils (Mrp8 Cre), and dendritic cells (CD11c Cre) did not affect MNoVCW3 viral RNA levels. Finally, we show that the transcription factor STAT1, which is critical for the innate immune response, partially restricts the cell tropism of MNoVCW3 to LysM1 cells. Taken together, these data demonstrate that CD300lf expression on tuft cells is essential for MNoVCR6; that myelomonocytic cells are a major, but not exclusive, target cell of MNoVCW3; and that STAT1 signaling restricts the cellular tropism of MNoVCW3. This study provides the first genetic system for studying the cell type-specific role of CD300lf in norovirus pathogenesis. IMPORTANCE Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) are a leading cause of gastroenteritis resulting in up to 200,000 deaths each year. The receptor and cell tropism of HuNoV in immunocompetent humans are unclear. We use murine norovirus (MNoV) as a model for HuNoV. We recently identified CD300lf as the sole physiologic receptor for MNoV. Here, we leverage this finding to generate a Cd300lf conditional knockout mouse to decipher the contributions of specific cell types to MNoV infection. We demonstrate that persistent MNoVCR6 requires CD300lf expression on tuft cells. In contrast, multiple CD300lf1 cell types, dominated by myelomonocytic cells, are sufficient for nonpersistent MNoVCW3 infection. CD300lf expression on epithelial cells, B cells, neutrophils, and dendritic cells is not critical for MNoVCW3 infection. Mortality associated with the MNoVCW3 strain in Stat12/2 mice does not require CD300lf expression on LysM1 cells, highlighting that both CD300lf receptor expression and innate immunity regulate MNoV cell tropism in vivo.
- Cell tropism
- Viral entry