Dr. Nick Knowles, Chair of the ICTV (International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses) Picornaviridae Study Group, informed Dr. John Lednicky that the Human Rhinovirus type C strain he detected and sequenced (HRV-C JAL-1/USA/2010) belongs to a novel genotype which has been designated HRV-C51. So far, the virus described by Dr. Lednicky is one of three viruses within HRV-C51. The other two viruses grouped into HRV-C51 are LZ508/China/2007 (GenBank JF317015). which was sequenced by a team led by Dr. Z. J. Duan (Chinese Center for Disease Control) and HRV-CO-1368 (GenBank EU743925), which was sequenced by a team led by Dr. Ian Lipkin (Columbia University). Whereas the viral coat protein VP1 sequence is used to type Rhinovirus C strains, strain LZ508 is also closely related to HRV-CO-1368 in the VP2/VP4 region, but JAL-1 is very different to both.
The virus sequenced by Dr. Lednicky is also among the longer Rhinovirus C genomes to-date; the significance of this finding is not yet clear. Rhinovirus C was co-discovered in Australia and the USA and first reported in 2006. Rhinoviruses are the common causes of the respiratory illness called a “human cold”. Unlike viruses classified as Rhinovirus A or B, those within the Rhinovirus C group have sometimes been associated with severe respiratory infections.
Unfortunately, it has been hard to study Rhinovirus C, as the viruses cannot be easily grown in standard cell cultures, unlike Rhinoviruses A and B. Dr. Lednicky hopes to explore methods to grow HRV-C JAL-1/USA/2010 in cell cultures. That work will be facilitated by use of a new reverse-genetics system for HRV-C JAL-1/USA/2010.
The designation of new HRV-C types is listed here:
Dr. John Lednicky is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Global Health.