Interaction of Human Enteric Viruses with Microbial Compounds: Implication for Virus Persistence and Disinfection Treatments

Although the interaction between phages and bacteria has already been well described, it only recently emerged that human viruses also interact with bacteria in the mammalian gut. We studied whether this interaction could occur in tap water and thus confer enteric viruses protection against temperature and the classical disinfection treatments used in drinking water production. We demonstrated that the addition of lipopolysaccharide or peptidoglycan of bacterial origin to enterovirus provides thermal protection through stabilization of the viral capsid. This interaction plays a role when viruses are exposed to disinfection that targets the capsid, but less so when the virus genome is directly targeted. The interaction seems to be serotype-specific, suggesting that the capsid protein sequence could be important. The protection is linked to a direct association between viral particles and bacterial compounds as observed by microscopy. These results show that bacterial compounds present in the environment can affect virus inactivation.