Using a Systems Biology Approach to Dissect Parasite-Host Interactions


Walter H. Moos, Jon C. Mirsalis, Nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical research and development, Drug Development Research, 2009, 70, 7


The reductionist approach to biology has allowed us to understand the cell at a component level. But in recent years, with the deluge of genome-derived and empirically obtained data, we must interpret biological complexity holistically. Thus, systems biology research allows us to connect the seemingly independent elements in biological networks. Protozoan parasites in the genus Leishmania cause clinically distinct diseases in humans with visceral, cutaneous, and mucocutaneous pathologies. In this article, we take the example of Leishmania parasites and their interactions with the vertebrate host as a model to generate a global view of molecular and biochemical processes in both spatial and temporal compartments, based on genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data. Furthermore, we propose extending this approach to other pathogen-host relationships, thus enabling us to identify novel therapeutic targets, vaccine candidates, and to develop immune monitoring and diagnosis. Drug Dev Res 70:296–302, 2009 © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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