The Role of the VP4 Attachment Protein in Rotavirus Host Range Restriction in an In Vivo Suckling Mouse Model

Liliana Sanchez-Tacuba, Takahiro Kawagishi, Ningguo Feng, Baoming Jiang, Siyuan Ding, Harry B. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The basis for rotavirus (RV) host range restriction (HRR) is not fully understood but is likely multigenic. RV genes encoding VP3, VP4, NSP1, NSP2, NSP3, and NSP4 have been associated with HRR in various studies. With the exception of NSP1, little is known about the relative contribution of the other RV genes to HRR. VP4 has been linked to HRR because it functions as the RV cell attachment protein, but its actual role in HRR has not been fully assessed. We generated a collection of recombinant RVs (rRVs) in an isogenic murine-like RV genetic background, harboring either heterologous or homologous VP4 genes from simian, bovine, porcine, human, and murine RV strains, and characterized these rRVs in vitro and in vivo. We found that a murine-like rRV encoding a simian VP4 was shed, spread to uninoculated littermates, and induced diarrhea comparably to rRV harboring a murine VP4. However, rRVs carrying VP4s from both bovine and porcine RVs had reduced diarrhea, but no change in fecal shedding was observed. Both diarrhea and shedding were reduced when VP4 originated from a human RV strain. rRVs harboring VP4s from human or bovine RVs did not transmit to uninoculated littermates. We also generated two rRVs harboring reciprocal chimeric murine or bovine VP4. Both chimeras replicated and caused disease as efficiently as the parental strain with a fully murine VP4. These data suggest that the genetic origin of VP4 partially modulates HRR in the suckling mouse and that both the VP8*and VP5*domains independently contribute to pathogenesis and transmission.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • host range restriction
  • pathogenesis
  • reverse genetics
  • rotavirus
  • transmission
  • viral replication


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