Mouse mammary tumor virus is implicated in severity of colitis and dysbiosis in the IL-10−/− mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease

Thumbnail Image
Armstrong, Heather
Rahbari, Mandana
Park, Heekuk
Sharon, David
Thiesen, Aducio
Hotte, Naomi
Sun, Ning
Syed, Hussain
Abofayed, Hiatem
Wang, Weiwei
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
BioMed Central (BMC)
Abstract Background Following viral infection, genetically manipulated mice lacking immunoregulatory function may develop colitis and dysbiosis in a strain-specific fashion that serves as a model for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We found that one such model of spontaneous colitis, the interleukin (IL)-10 knockout (IL-10−/−) model derived from the SvEv mouse, had evidence of increased Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) viral RNA expression compared to the SvEv wild type. MMTV is endemic in several mouse strains as an endogenously encoded Betaretrovirus that is passaged as an exogenous agent in breast milk. As MMTV requires a viral superantigen to replicate in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue prior to the development of systemic infection, we evaluated whether MMTV may contribute to the development of colitis in the IL-10−/− model. Results Viral preparations extracted from IL-10−/− weanling stomachs revealed augmented MMTV load compared to the SvEv wild type. Illumina sequencing of the viral genome revealed that the two largest contigs shared 96.4–97.3% identity with the mtv-1 endogenous loci and the MMTV(HeJ) exogenous virus from the C3H mouse. The MMTV sag gene cloned from IL-10−/− spleen encoded the MTV-9 superantigen that preferentially activates T-cell receptor Vβ-12 subsets, which were expanded in the IL-10−/− versus the SvEv colon. Evidence of MMTV cellular immune responses to MMTV Gag peptides was observed in the IL-10−/− splenocytes with amplified interferon-γ production versus the SvEv wild type. To address the hypothesis that MMTV may contribute to colitis, we used HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitors, tenofovir and emtricitabine, and the HIV protease inhibitor, lopinavir boosted with ritonavir, for 12-week treatment versus placebo. The combination antiretroviral therapy with known activity against MMTV was associated with reduced colonic MMTV RNA and improved histological score in IL-10−/− mice, as well as diminished secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and modulation of the microbiome associated with colitis. Conclusions This study suggests that immunogenetically manipulated mice with deletion of IL-10 may have reduced capacity to contain MMTV infection in a mouse-strain-specific manner, and the antiviral inflammatory responses may contribute to the complexity of IBD with the development of colitis and dysbiosis. Video Abstract
Microbiome. 2023 Mar 03;11(1):39
Microbiome. 2023 Mar 03;11(1):39