The role of a protein in detecting the common cold virus and kickstarting an immune response to fight infection has been uncovered by a team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the National University of Singapore.
In a study published in the journal Science on 22 October 2020, they showed that the protein NLRP1, found on the skin and in the airways, is a sensor that detects the human rhinovirus (HRV). When NLRP1 breaches the respiratory tract, it triggers an immune response leading to inflammation in the lungs and causes symptoms of the common cold.
HRV is a major cause of the common cold and acute respiratory disease in children and adults, which in severe cases, leads to bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
The research team said that discovering NLRP1’s purpose could lead to new treatments for the symptoms of