Research Article: Genetics, Recombination and Clinical Features of Human Rhinovirus Species C (HRV-C) Infections; Interactions of HRV-C with Other Respiratory Viruses

Date Published: December 30, 2009

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Anne Wisdom, Aldona E. Kutkowska, E. Carol McWilliam Leitch, Eleanor Gaunt, Kate Templeton, Heli Harvala, Peter Simmonds, John E. Tavis. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008518

Abstract: To estimate the frequency, molecular epidemiological and clinical associations of infection with the newly described species C variants of human rhinoviruses (HRV), 3243 diagnostic respiratory samples referred for diagnostic testing in Edinburgh were screened using a VP4-encoding region-based selective polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HRV-C along with parallel PCR testing for 13 other respiratory viruses. HRV-C was the third most frequently detected behind respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and adenovirus, with 141 infection episodes detected among 1885 subjects over 13 months (7.5%). Infections predominantly targeted the very young (median age 6–12 months; 80% of infections in those <2 years), occurred throughout the year but with peak incidence in early winter months. HRV-C was detected significantly more frequently among subjects with lower (LRT) and upper respiratory tract (URT) disease than controls without respiratory symptoms; HRV-C mono-infections were the second most frequently detected virus (behind RSV) in both disease presentations (6.9% and 7.8% of all cases respectively). HRV variants were classified by VP4/VP2 sequencing into 39 genotypically defined types, increasing the current total worldwide to 60. Through sequence comparisons of the 5′untranslated region (5′UTR), the majority grouped with species A (n = 96; 68%, described as HRV-Ca), the remainder forming a phylogenetically distinct 5′UTR group (HRV-Cc). Multiple and bidirectional recombination events between HRV-Ca and HRV-Cc variants and with HRV species A represents the most parsimonious explanation for their interspersed phylogeny relationships in the VP4/VP2-encoding region. No difference in age distribution, seasonality or disease associations was identified between HRV-Ca and HRV-Cc variants. HRV-C-infected subjects showed markedly reduced detection frequencies of RSV and other respiratory viruses, providing evidence for a major interfering effect of HRV-C on susceptibility to other respiratory virus infections. HRV-C's disease associations, its prevalence and evidence for interfering effects on other respiratory viruses mandates incorporation of rhinoviruses into future diagnostic virology screening.

Partial Text: Human rhinoviruses (HRVs) are members of the recently expanded Enterovirus genus within the family Picornaviridae[1]. Their genome organisation and structure are typical for picornaviruses, possessing a 7200 base single stranded RNA genome and a non-enveloped virion of approximately 30 nm in diameter. Human rhinoviruses were originally classifiable into two species, A and B with likely distinct evolutionary separate origins within the Enterovirus genus. However, they both share a primary tropism for the respiratory tract and species B and most species A variants use the intracellular adhesion molecule-1 receptor for entry [2]. Being acid-labile, HRVs do not colonise the gut, and are most commonly transmitted by the respiratory-salivary route, both by person-to-person contact and airborne transmission. In temperate countries, infections occur primarily in two peaks, the first between April and May and the second between September and October [3], [4].

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http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008518

 

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