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J Gen Virol. 2011 Nov;92(Pt 11):2549-57. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.031302-0. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Comparison of rhinovirus A infection in human primary epithelial and HeLa cells.

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Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Wisconsin, 1525 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


HeLa cells are used to study the life cycles of many different viruses, including the human rhinoviruses (HRV) in the family Picornaviridae. Although the natural targets of HRV are human bronchial epithelial cells (hBE), it is generally more difficult to obtain and maintain the relevant primary cell cultures, relative to HeLa cells. Given that the HRV are now identified as a major cause of human asthma exacerbations, it becomes important to document how much of the virus biology learned from HeLa cells is common also to natural primary cells. When compared directly in matched infections using A01a virus, the kinetics of RNA replication, the synthesis and processing of viral proteins and the general subcellular localization of key non-structural proteins were resembled in hBE and HeLa cells. Viral-induced shutoff of host cell processes (e.g. nucleo-cytoplasmic trafficking) was also comparable.

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