Emerging viruses threaten global health, but few experimental models can characterize the virus and host factors necessary for within- and cross-species transmission. Here, we leverage a model whereby pet store mice or rats-which harbor natural rodent pathogens-are cohoused with laboratory mice. This "dirty"mouse model offers a platform for studying acute transmission of viruses between and within hosts via natural mechanisms. We identified numerous viruses and other microbial species that transmit to cohoused mice, including prospective new members of the Coronaviridae, Astroviridae, Picornaviridae, and Narnaviridae families, and uncovered pathogen interactions that promote or prevent virus transmission. We also evaluated transmission dynamics ofmurine astroviruses during transmission and spread within a new host. Finally, by cohousing our laboratory mice with the bedding of pet store rats, we identified cross-species transmission of a rat astrovirus. Overall, this model system allows for the analysis of transmission of natural rodent viruses and is a platform to further characterize barriers to zoonosis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health R01 AI132962 and an Academic Investment Research Program grant from the University of Minnesota Medical School to R.A. Lan-glois. E.J. Fay was supported by National Institutes of Health T32 AI007313. K.M. Balla was supported by National Institutes of Health T32 AI055434-13. S.N. Roach and F.K. Shepherd were supported by National Institutes of Health T32 HL007741. M.T. Ferris was supported by National Institutes of Health U19 AI100625.
© 2021 Fay et al.