Original Article: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008009
- Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) are the most common cause of foodborne illness, with a societal cost of $60 billion and 219,000 deaths/year.
- Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.
- HuNoVs are non-enveloped, single-stranded, positive-sense, RNA viruses belonging to the Caliciviridae family.
- The lack of robust small animal models has significantly created difficulties in understanding the norovirus biology and the development of effective therapeutics.
- Zebrafish is a small freshwater fish that is an extensively studied vertebrate model organism.
- It can be bred rapidly in large numbers, is amenable to genetics, and has a clear embryo, making it attractive to study vertebrate development, physiology and disease.
- A study report that HuNoV GI and GII replicate to high titers in zebrafish larvae.
- Replication peaks at day 2 post infection and is detectable for at least 6 days.
- The virus (HuNoV GII.4) could be moved through from larva to larva two consecutive times.
- HuNoV is detected in cells of the hematopoietic lineage and the intestine, supporting the notion of a dual tropism.
- Hematopoietic stem cells are the stem cells that give rise to other blood cells.
- Tropism refers to the growth response in a non-motile organism elicited by an external stimulus, and either toward the stimulus or away from it.
- Antiviral treatment reduces HuNoV replication by >2 log10, showing that this model is suited for antiviral studies.
Zebrafish larvae constitute a simple and robust replication model that will largely facilitate studies of human norovirus biology and the development of antiviral strategies.