Host Genomics and Bacterial Infections
This chapter focuses on host genomics, highlighting examples of studies aimed at unraveling the complex nature of immune response to infection. Bacterial pathogens are known to cause infectious diseases in humans. Many of these pathogens are commensal organisms that are ubiquitous in the environment or colonize tissues within the host. Despite near constant contact with bacteria, only a few of the exposed individuals actually develop clinical signs and symptoms associated with infection. The interplay between host and pathogen is complex, and infection may depend on genetically determined factors such as host immunity or virulence of the pathogen. Despite the long history of infectious diseases, genetic investigations of bacteria and host immunity have only recently improved the understanding of the complex host-pathogen relationship. Recent technologies such as genetic screening and expression analysis help to better define the role of key features predisposing to infection, the transition of a commensal microorganism into a pathogen, or response to infection once the pathogen has invaded normally sterile body tissue. Such advancements are used to identify new therapeutic modalities, targeting overexpressed or deficient host immune factors, as well as components of pathogens that are critical for the development of resistance or survival. © 2010 Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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