Human rhinovirus recognition in non-immune cells is mediated by Toll-like receptors and MDA-5, which trigger a synergetic pro-inflammatory immune response

Virulence. Jan-Feb 2011;2(1):22-9. doi: 10.4161/viru.2.1.13807. Epub 2011 Jan 1.


The early detection of invading viruses by the host depends on their identification by pathogen sensors. These include Toll-like receptors (TLRs) as well as cytoplasmic RNA helicases such as retinoic acid inducible protein I (RIG-I) and melanoma differentiation associated gene 5 (MDA-5). These pathogen sensors recognize specific molecular patterns found in viruses and trigger inflammatory and antiviral responses that result in the eradication of invading pathogens. In this study we investigated the specific recognition of Human rhinovirus 6 (HRV6) the common cold pathogen by the innate immune response in lung epithelial cells. Our experiments established that in the first stages on infection the TLRs play a crucial role in HRV recognition and that different constituents of HRV6 are recognized by different TLRs, while upon viral replication and generation of dsRNA the type I IFN inflammatory response is mediated by MDA-5. The HRV6 capsid is recognized via TLR2, whereas upon HRV6 ssRNA internalization the virus genome is recognized by TLR7 and TLR8. Upon generation of dsRNA the type I IFN response is mediated by MDA-5. The combined recognition by different TLRs and MDA5 and their upregulation concurs with the huge inflammatory response seen in the common cold caused by human rhinoviruses.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / genetics
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / immunology*
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology*
  • Epithelial Cells / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interferon Type I / immunology
  • Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / virology
  • Picornaviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Picornaviridae Infections / virology
  • Rhinovirus / genetics
  • Rhinovirus / immunology*
  • Rhinovirus / physiology
  • Toll-Like Receptors / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptors / immunology*


  • Interferon Type I
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • IFIH1 protein, human
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases
  • Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1