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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 Jan;64(2):181-91.

The cold case: are rhinoviruses perfectly adapted pathogens?

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  • 1Dept of Molecular Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstr 55, 45122, Essen, Germany.


Rhinoviruses, which cause common cold, belong to the Picornaviridae family, small non-enveloped viruses (diameter 15-30 nm) containing a single-stranded RNA genome (about 7 kb). Over 100 different rhinoviral serotypes have been identified thus far, establishing rhinoviruses as the most diverse group of Picornaviridae. Based on receptor binding properties, rhinoviruses are divided into two classes: the major group binding to intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and the minor group binding to the very low density lipoprotein receptors. Interactions between virus and the receptor molecules cause a conformational change in the capsid, which is a prerequisite for viral uptake. Rhinoviruses trigger a chemokine response upon infection that may lead to exacerbation of the symptoms of common cold, i.e. asthma and inflammation. The following review aims to summarize the knowledge about rhinoviral infections and discusses therapeutical approaches against this almost perfectly adapted pathogen.

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