Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Not So Common Event Connected with the Common Cold

Cold virus found to manipulate genes is a Biology News Net article which states the following:

For the first time, researchers have shown that HRV hijacks many of your genes and causes an overblown immune response that ends up with your nose being overblown.

The research, published in the first issue for November of the American Thoracic Society's clinical research journal, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, is the first study to comprehensively review gene changes caused by HRV.


HRV is an acronym for human rhinovirus which causes a large percentage of colds. Significantly the same virus is also implicated in more serious conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Also from the article:

The researchers recruited volunteers who were inoculated with either HRV or a sham inoculation and obtained cell scrapings from the nasal passages 8 and 48 hours after inoculation and assessed the genetic changes by microarray, also know as gene chip technology.

After 8 hours, there were virtually no differences between the control and the HRV-inoculated group, but by the 48-hour mark, more than 6500 genes has been significantly up- or down-regulated in the HRV subjects—many of the more highly up-regulated genes fell into two major categories: genes making antiviral proteins, including viperin; or genes making pro-inflammatory cytokines.


So HRV affects the regulation of more than 6500 genes. Whew! Targeted genes include those coding for antiviral proteins and pro-inflammatory cytokines. The study also produced evidence that silencing the viperin-producing gene adversely impacted affected cells. Viperin hinders viral replication.

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