Identification of Antinorovirus Genes in Human Cells Using Genome-Wide CRISPR Activation Screening.

J Virol

Noroviruses (NoVs) are a leading cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, yet host factors that restrict NoV replication are not well understood. Here, we use a CRISPR activation genome-wide screening to identify host genes that can inhibit murine norovirus (MNoV) replication in human cells. Our screens identified with high confidence 49 genes that can inhibit MNoV infection when overexpressed. A significant number of these genes are in interferon and immune regulation signaling networks, but surprisingly, the majority of the genes identified are neither associated with innate or adaptive immunity nor associated with any antiviral activity. Confirmatory studies of eight of the genes validate the initial screening data. Mechanistic studies on demonstrated a conserved role of the molecule in mouse and human cells in restricting MNoV in a step of infection after viral entry. Furthermore, we demonstrate that two isoforms of have differential antiviral activity. Taken together, these data provide a resource for understanding norovirus biology and demonstrate a robust methodology for identifying new antiviral molecules. Norovirus is one of the leading causes of food-borne illness worldwide. Despite its prevalence, our understanding of norovirus biology is limited due to the difficulty in growing human norovirus and a lack of an animal model. Murine norovirus (MNoV) is a model norovirus system because MNoV replicates robustly in cell culture and in mice. To identify host genes that can restrict norovirus replication when overexpressed, we performed genome-wide CRISPR activation screens to induce gene overexpression at the native locus through recruitment of transcriptional activators to individual gene promoters. We found 49 genes that could block murine norovirus replication in human cells. Several of these genes are associated with classical immune signaling pathways, while many of the molecules we identified have not been previously associated with antiviral activity. Our data are a resource for those studying noroviruses, and we provide a robust approach to identify novel antiviral genes.

Year of Publication
J Virol
Date Published
2019 01 01
PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
Grant list
R00 DK116666 / DK / NIDDK NIH HHS / United States