The Antibiotic Neomycin Enhances Coxsackievirus Plaque Formation

Mikal A. Woods Acevedo, Julie K. Pfeiffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coxsackievirus typically infects humans via the gastrointestinal tract, which has a large number of microorganisms collectively referred to as the microbiota. To study how the intestinal microbiota influence enteric virus infection, several groups have used an antibiotic regimen in mice to deplete bacteria. These studies have shown that bacteria promote infection with several enteric viruses. However, very little is known about whether antibiotics influence viruses in a microbiota-independent manner. Here, we sought to determine the effects of antibiotics on coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) using an in vitro cell culture model in the absence of bacteria. We determined that an aminoglycoside antibiotic, neomycin, enhanced plaque size of CVB3-Nancy strain. Neomycin treatment did not alter viral attachment, translation, or replication. However, we found that the positive charge of neomycin and other positively charged compounds enhanced viral diffusion by overcoming the negative inhibitory effect of sulfated polysaccharides present in agar overlays. Overall, these data lend further evidence that antibiotics can play non-canonical roles in viral infections and that this should be considered when studying enteric virus-microbiota interactions. Importance Coxsackieviruses primarily infect the gastrointestinal tract of humans, but they can disseminate systemically and cause severe disease. Using antibiotic treatment regimens to deplete intestinal microbes in mice, several groups have shown the bacteria promote infection with a variety of enteric viruses. However, it is possible that antibiotics have microbiota-independent effects on viruses. Here, we show that an aminoglycoside antibiotic, neomycin, can influence quantification of coxsackievirus in cultured cells in absence of bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Nov 16 2018


  • antibiotics
  • coxsackievirus
  • neomycin
  • plaque assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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