Germ-free piglets were orally infected with virulent rotavirus to collect jejunal mucosal scrapings at 12 and 18 hours post infection (two piglets per time point). IFN-gamma mRNA expression was stimulated in the mucosa of all four infected piglets, indicating that they all responded to the rotavirus infection. RNA pools prepared from two infected piglets were used to compare whole mucosal gene expression at 12 and 18 hpi to expression in uninfected germ-free piglets (n = 3) using a porcine intestinal cDNA microarray. Microarray analysis identified 13 down-regulated and 17 up-regulated genes. Northern blot analysis of a selected group of genes confirmed the data of the microarray. Genes were functionally clustered in interferon-regulated genes, proliferation/ differentiation genes, apoptosis genes, cytoskeleton genes, signal transduction genes, and enterocyte digestive, absorptive, and transport genes. Down-regulation of the transport gene cluster reflected in part the loss of rotavirus-infected enterocytes from the villous tips. Data mining suggested that several genes were regulated in lower- or mid-villus immature enterocytes and goblet cells, probably to support repair of the damaged epithelial cell layer at the villous tips. Furthermore, up-regulation was observed for IFN-γ induced guanylate binding protein 2, a protein that effectively inhibited VSV and EMCV replication in vitro (Arch Virol 150:1213-1220, 2005). This protein may play a role in the small intestine's innate defense against enteric viruses like rotavirus.