Intestinal antiviral signaling is controlled by autophagy gene Epg5 independent of the microbiota

Sanghyun Lee, Gowri Kalugotla, Harshad Ingle, Rachel Rodgers, Chunyan Wu, Yating Wang, Yuhao Li, Xia Yang, Jin Zhang, Nicolette R. Borella, Hongju Deng, Lindsay Droit, Ryan Hill, Stefan T. Peterson, Chandni Desai, Dylan Lawrence, Qun Lu, Megan T. Baldridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Mutations in the macroautophagy/autophagy gene EPG5 are responsible for Vici syndrome, a human genetic disease characterized by combined immunodeficiency. Previously, we found that epg5−/- mice exhibit hyperinflammation in the lungs mediated by IL1B/IL-1β and TNF/TNFα, resulting in resistance to influenza. Here, we find that disruption of Epg5 results in protection against multiple enteric viruses including norovirus and rotavirus. Gene expression analysis reveals IFNL/IFN-λ responsive genes as a key alteration. Further, mice lacking Epg5 exhibit substantial alterations of the intestinal microbiota. Surprisingly, germ-free mouse studies indicate Epg5-associated inflammation of both the intestine and lung is microbiota-independent. Genetic studies support IFNL signaling as the primary mediator of resistance to enteric viruses, but not of microbial dysbiosis, in epg5−/- mice. This study unveils an important role, unexpectedly independent of the microbiota, for autophagy gene Epg5 in host organism protection by modulating intestinal IFNL responses. Abbreviations: CTNNB1: catenin (cadherin associated protein), beta 1; DAPI: 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; EPG5: ectopic P-granules autophagy protein 5 homolog (C. elegans); FT: fecal transplant; IFI44: interferon-induced protein 44; IFIT1: interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 1; IFNG/IFN-γ: interferon gamma; IFNL/IFN-λ: interferon lambda; IFNLR1: interferon lambda receptor 1; IL1B/IL-1β: interleukin 1 beta; ISG: interferon stimulated gene; GF: germ-free; LEfSe: linear discriminant analysis effect size; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MNoV: murine norovirus; MX2: MX dynamin-like GTPase 2; OAS1A: 2’-5’ oligoadenylate synthetase 1A; RV: rotavirus; SPF: specific-pathogen free; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; STAT1: signal transducer and activator of transcription 1; STING1: stimulator of interferon response cGAMP interactor 1; TBK1: TANK-binding kinase 1; TNF/TNFα: tumor necrosis factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1062-1077
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Antiviral
  • Epg5
  • IFN-λ
  • microbiota
  • norovirus
  • rotavirus


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