Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Type III interferon signaling restricts enterovirus 71 infection of goblet cells

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Science Advances  06 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaau4255
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau4255


Recent worldwide outbreaks of enterovirus 71 (EV71) have caused major epidemics of hand, foot, and mouth disease with severe neurological complications, including acute flaccid paralysis. EV71 is transmitted by the enteral route, but little is known about the mechanisms it uses to cross the human gastrointestinal tract. Using primary human intestinal epithelial monolayers, we show that EV71 infects the epithelium from the apical surface, where it preferentially infects goblet cells. We found that EV71 infection did not alter epithelial barrier function but did reduce the expression of goblet cell–derived mucins, suggesting that it alters goblet cell function. We also show that the intestinal epithelium responds to EV71 infection through the selective induction of type III interferons (IFNs), which restrict EV71 replication. Collectively, these findings define the early events associated with EV71 infections of the human intestinal epithelium and show that host IFN signaling controls replication in an IFN-specific manner.

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