Insights gained from growing cold-causing virus on sinus tissue

April 10, 2011

MADISON - Using sinus tissue removed during surgery at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have managed to grow a recently discovered species of human rhinovirus (HRV), the most frequent cause of the common cold, in culture.

The researchers found that the virus, which is associated with up to half of all HRV infections in children, has reproductive properties that differ from those of other members of the HRV family.

The accomplishments, reported in Nature Medicine on April 11, should allow antiviral compounds to be screened to see if they stop the virus from growing.

The report sheds light on HRV-C, a new member of the HRV family that also includes the well-known HRV-A and HRV-B. Discovered five years ago, HRV-C has been notoriously difficult to grow in standard cell cultures and, therefore, impossible to study.

"We now have evidence that there may be new approaches to treating or preventing HRV-C infections," says senior author James Gern, professor of medicine at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and an asthma expert at American Family Children's Hospital.

Future drugs could be especially useful for children and adults who have asthma and other lung problems, Gern says.

Recent studies have shown that in addition to its major role in the common cold, HRV-C is responsible for between 50 percent and 80 percent of asthma attacks. HRV-C is a frequent cause of wheezing illnesses in infants and may be especially likely to cause asthma attacks in children. HRV infections of all kinds also can greatly worsen chronic lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Like other scientists, Yury Bochkov, a virologist in Gern's lab, was unable to grow HRV-C in standard cell lines. So he turned to nasal tissue he collected following sinus surgery--and was surprised to find success. He grew significant amounts of two forms of HRV-C, then sequenced the complete virus genome and engineered an identical copy of it in a plasmid vector.

Studying the reproduction of the living, growing virus, he found that HRV-C replication appeared to occur in specific kinds of cells localized in nasal epithelium tissue.

"We also found that HRV-C does not attach to the two receptors that HRV-A and HRV-B use," Bochkov says. "HRV-C uses a distinct, yet unknown, receptor that is absent or under-expressed in many cell lines."

HRV-C also responded differently to antibodies that block receptor binding.

"Antibodies that normally keep HRV-A and HRV-B from binding to their receptors did not prevent HRV-C from binding to them," Bochkov says.

The findings suggest that new approaches are needed to treat HRV-C, says Gern.

"Previous drug candidates for the common cold were tested only against HRV-A and HRV-B," he says. "For more effective medications, we need to also target HRV-C."

Bochkov will continue to use the organ culture system to study details of HRV-C biology.

"It's now clear that these viruses have unique growth requirements," he says.
-end-
Collaborators on the study included Ann Palmenberg, Wai-Ming Lee, Svetlana Amineva, Xin Sun, Thomas Pasic and Nizar Jarjour from UW-Madison; and Jennifer Rathe and Stephen Liggett from University of Maryland.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.