Protein Name

Human rhinovirus 14 coat protein


Human rhinovirus 14 (human common cold virus)

Biological Context

"When you visit a doctor, a cold will last a week, when you do not treat it, it will last seven days" is often said when talking about the cold, a very frequent, mostly harmless, viral disease, which is why it is often referred to as the "Common Cold". In other words, there is no known effective cure for the common cold. Like other viruses of its class rhinovirus is an icosahedral virus with an approximately spherical shape of about 300 A in diameter. The capsid consists of 20 equilateral triangular faces, each corner of a face occupied by a complex of 4 viral proteins. There are therefore 60 copies of each viral protein in the capsid and 240 proteins in total. The interior of the capsid contains single-stranded RNA as the genetic material of the virus. This makes it a retrovirus, that means, host cells have to create DNA from this RNA for reproduction of the virus. While there may be no cure for the common cold yet, hope is that studying the structure of the virus might help to find one. Such is indeed the case.

Structure Description

The structure shown here is the protein forms capsid, and consists of 4 subunits. Rossmann and his colleagues who have worked on the rhinovirus structure for many years, found that the capsid contains deep clefts which they call canyons. They assume that receptors on cellular surfaces fit into these canyons and help attach the virus particle to the cell. By designing drugs that can fill this canyon and prevent cell attachment of the virus maybe there will be a cure for the common cold in the future. For, while the symptoms of rhinovirus are annoying but not life-threatening, the impact that rhinovirus has on the economy through lost working hours is severe.

Protein Data Bank (PDB)



  • Arnold, E. Rossmann, M.G.; "The use of molecular-replacement phases for the refinement of the human rhinovirus 14 structure."; Acta Crystallogr.; (1988) A44:270-282 PubMed:2856083.


author: Arno Paehler

Japanese version:PDB:4RHV