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Volume 46 Number 4 Volume 46 Number 5

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ScienceAsia 46 (2020): 503-513 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2020.083

Transcriptome profiling to understand host-bacteria interactions: Past, present and future

Sheila Nathan

ABSTRACT:     Despite advances in antimicrobials, vaccination and public health measures, bacterial infectious diseases remain a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. With the increase in antimicrobial resistance and the emergence of new bacterial pathogens, there remains a need for better understanding of the host response to infection. This would lead to new paths of basic research and the identification of potential diagnostic biomarkers and new drug targets to overcome issues of antibiotic resistance. Bacterial pathogens have evolved strategies to promote their survival by significantly over-riding the transcriptional profile of the host cells they infect. In particular, pathogen-encoded effector molecules modulate host cells through different mechanisms. Transcriptomics is a powerful way to gauge these changes in mechanism of either bacterial or eukaryotic cells under a given condition. Microarray technology and more recently RNA sequencing are well established tools to unravel host-pathogen interactions which is of central importance to understand the host response to a particular bacterial infection or the mechanisms employed by a pathogenic bacteria to subvert host defenses. The establishment of dual RNA-sequencing has enabled the profiling of gene expression changes simultaneously in an infecting bacterium and its infected host. This technology is able to provide greater discriminative power to study the pathogen and host simultaneously throughout the infection process. This review provides an overview of the transcriptome-based tools utilised and new knowledge obtained from dissecting hostpathogen interactions.

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a Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

* Corresponding author, E-mail: sheila@ukm.edu.my

Received 2 Oct 2020, Accepted 7 Oct 2020