Fungal microorganisms frequently lead to life-threatening infections. Within this group of pathogens, the commensal Candida albicans and the filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus are by far the most … important causes of invasive mycoses in Europe. A key capability for host invasion and immune response evasion are specific molecular interactions between the fungal pathogen and its human host. Experimentally validated knowledge about these crucial interactions is rare in literature and even specialized host-pathogen databases mainly focus on bacterial and viral interactions whereas information on fungi is still sparse. To establish large-scale host-fungi interaction networks on a systems biology scale, we develop an extended inference approach based on protein orthology and data on gene functions. Using human and yeast intraspecies networks as template, we derive a large network of pathogen-host interactions (PHI). Rigorous filtering and refinement steps based on cellular localization and pathogenicity information of predicted interactors yield a primary scaffold of fungi-human and fungi-mouse interaction networks. Specific enrichment of known pathogenicity-relevant genes indicates the biological relevance of the predicted PHI. A detailed inspection of functionally relevant subnetworks reveals novel host-fungal interaction candidates such as the Candida virulence factor PLB1 and the anti-fungal host protein APP. Our results demonstrate the applicability of interolog-based prediction methods for host-fungi interactions and underline the importance of filtering and refinement steps to attain biologically more relevant interactions. This integrated network framework can serve as a basis for future analyses of high-throughput host-fungi transcriptome and proteome data.
Date Published: 4th Aug 2015
Journal: Front Microbiol
The successful treatment of infectious diseases requires interdisciplinary studies of all aspects of infection processes. The overarching combination of experimental research and theoretical analysis … in a systems biology approach can unravel mechanisms of complex interactions between pathogens and the human immune system. Taking into account spatial information is especially important in the context of infection, since the migratory behavior and spatial interactions of cells are often decisive for the outcome of the immune response. Spatial information is provided by image and video data that are acquired in microscopy experiments and that are at the heart of an image-based systems biology approach. This review demonstrates how image-based systems biology improves our understanding of infection processes. We discuss the three main steps of this approach--imaging, quantitative characterization, and modeling--and consider the application of these steps in the context of studying infection processes. After summarizing the most relevant microscopy and image analysis approaches, we discuss ways to quantify infection processes, and address a number of modeling techniques that exploit image-derived data to simulate host-pathogen interactions in silico.
Date Published: 29th Jan 2015
Journal: Cytometry A