Noroviruses are important human pathogens, causing more than 90% of all cases of viral gastroenteritis. They are difficult to cultivate in vitro and as there is no small animal model currently available the mechanisms of norovirus infection have been poorly understood. In the March 7 Science, Stephanie M. Karst and colleagues at Washington University at St. Louis School of Medicine, Missouri, US, show that mice deficient in signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) are susceptible to infection with a murine norovirus, making them ideal candidates for use as a model for norovirus infection (Science, 299:1575-1578, March 7, 2003).

Karst et al. observed that mice deficient in STAT1 and the recombination-activating gene 2 (RAG2) (RAG/STAT1–/– mice) sporadically succumbed to a virus that could be serially passed by intracerebral inoculation. Phylogenetic analysis of the capsid protein of the murine virus revealed that...

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