The study is reported in the April issue of the academic journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
"There are a lot of different approaches to treating the cold, none of which seem to be effective," said Keith Crandall, professor of biology and co-author of the study. "This is partly because we haven't spent a lot of time studying the virus and its history to see how it's responding to the human immune system and drugs."
The BYU team studied genomic sequences available online and used computer algorithms to estimate how the rhinovirus is related to other viruses.
According to Nicole Lewis-Rogers, a postdoctoral fellow in the Biology Department and lead author on the study, the rhinovirus is similar to the polio virus, whose vaccine was announced in 1955. But while the polio virus has just three subspecies, the rhinovirus has more than 100 subspecies, which continually evolve.
"These viruses could be under the same constraints and yet change differently," Lewis-Rogers said. "That's why it is so hard to create a vaccine."
Through a computer program developed at BYU, Lewis-Rogers' team was able to identify the parts of the virus genome that enable resistance to drugs and the human immune system.
The immune system does a good job of recognizing viral contaminants and getting rid of them, as do new drugs, but the rhinovirus has responded to these defenses by changing its genome so that it is not so easily recognized.
"The virus is evolving solutions against the immune system and drugs," Crandall said. "The more we can learn about how the virus evolves solutions, the better we can rid the body of these infections."
Understanding where change occurs in the virus genome will help virologists who work to design drugs that target the rhinovirus.
"If you've got 10,000 bits of information, this narrows it down to a handful," Lewis-Rogers said. "Here is where you can start looking."
Lewis-Rogers and Crandall hope scientists will use these insights to build better drugs to combat the virus in the most effective way.
BYU undergraduate Matthew Bendall is also a co-author on the study, which was funded by the USDA. Bendall will next pursue a master's in bioinformatics at BYU.
Michael Smart | EurekAlert!
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering