Interferon-lambda (IFN-λ) protects intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) from enteric viruses by inducing expression of antiviral IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). Here, we find that bacterial micro-biota stimulate a homeostatic ISG signature in the intestine of specific pathogen-free mice. This homeostatic ISG expression is restricted to IECs, depends on IEC-intrinsic expression of IFN-λ receptor (Ifnlr1), and is associated with IFN-λ production by leukocytes. Strikingly, imaging of these homeostatic ISGs reveals localization to pockets of the epithelium and concentration in mature IECs. Correspondingly, a minority of mature IECs express these ISGs in public single-cell RNA sequencing datasets from mice and humans. Furthermore, we assessed the ability of orally administered bacterial components to restore localized ISGs in mice lacking bacterial microbiota. Lastly, we find that IECs lacking Ifnlr1 are hyper-susceptible to initiation of murine rotavirus infection. These observations indicate that bacterial microbiota stimulate ISGs in localized regions of the intestinal epithelium at homeostasis, thereby preemptively activating antiviral defenses in vulnerable IECs to improve host defense against enteric viruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)