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J Gen Virol. 2009 Jun;90(Pt 6):1371-81. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.008508-0. Epub 2009 Mar 4.

Molecular characterization of human rhinovirus field strains isolated during surveillance of enteroviruses.

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National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)dagger, PO Box 30, FI-00271 Helsinki, Finland.


Human rhinoviruses (HRVs), which are the most frequent causative agents of acute upper respiratory tract infections, are abundant worldwide. We have identified HRV strains in environmental specimens collected in Finland, Latvia and Slovakia during the surveillance of polio- and other enteroviruses. These acid-sensitive HRV strains were isolated under conditions optimized for growth of most of the enteroviruses, i.e. in stationary human rhabdomyosarcoma cells incubated at 36 degrees C. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences derived from the partial 5' non-coding region and the capsid region coding for proteins VP4/VP2 and VP1 showed that the HRV field strains clustered together with prototype strains of the HRV minor receptor group. Partial sequences of the 3D polymerase coding region generally followed this pattern, with the exception of a set of three HRV field strains that formed a subcluster not close to any of the established HRV-A types, suggesting that recombination may have occurred during evolution of these HRV strains. Phylogenetic analysis of the VP4/VP2 capsid protein coding region showed that the 'environmental' HRV field strains were practically identical to HRV strains recently sequenced by others in Australia, the United States and Japan. Analysis of amino acids corresponding to the intercellular adhesion molecule-1 receptor footprint in major receptor group HRVs and also in the low-density lipoprotein receptor footprint of minor receptor group HRVs showed conservation of the 'minor receptor group-like' amino acids, indicating that the field strains may have maintained their minor receptor group specificity.

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