Infectomics: Study of Microbial Infections Using Omic Approaches


Infectomics is the study of infectomes, which are encoded by both host and microbial genomes, and mirror the interplay between pathogens and their hosts. There are three major types of infectomic approaches for dissecting of microbial infections: ecological infectomics, immunoinfectomics and chemical infectomics. The most challenging issue in infectomics is how to dissect the dynamic duality relationship between symbiosis and pathogenesis in microbial infections, and to predict and to mitigate infectious diseases.

Keywords: infectomics; microbiome; symbiosis; pathogenesis; ecology; dynamic duality relationship (DDR)

Figure 1.

Development cycle of integrated models using immunoinfectomic approaches for vaccine and drug discovery. Integrated models consist of three important components: (1) genotypic and phenotypic selection of antigens using infectomic approaches; (2) mapping of B‐cell and T‐cell epitopes by a combination of prediction algorithms and high throughput technologies and (3) confirmation of the immunogenicity of these epitopes can be carried out in vitro (B‐cell assays and T‐cell assays) and in vivo (transgenic mice). Models are iteratively tested and improved by comparison of predictions with holistic level responses measured experimentally through a combination of traditional assays and high throughput approaches.

Figure 2.

Dynamic changes in adhesion, growth and infectomes of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B (MenB) during bacteria adhering to epithelial cells: (a) adhering bacteria (squares) were counted after washing and lysis of the host cells (triangles, bacteria freely growing in the medium; circles, growth of cell‐associated bacteria); (b), (c) RNA was isolated at different times from both adhering and freely growing bacteria, and used to probe DNA chips carrying the entire MenB genome: (b) clustered expression profiles of genes whose regulation differs from freely growing bacteria by at least 2‐fold, (c) regulated genes in (b) were further analysed according to activation state (light grey, upregulated; dark grey, downregulated) to give a visual indication of the persistence of gene regulation. Grey scale represents n‐fold difference. cfu: colony‐forming units. (Reproduced by courtesy of G. Grandi from Grifantini R et al. () Previously unrecognized vaccine candidates against group B meningococcus identified by DNA microarrays. Nature Biotechnology20(9): 914–921).



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Huang, Sheng‐He, Li, Bai‐Lian, and Cao, Hong(Sep 2007) Infectomics: Study of Microbial Infections Using Omic Approaches. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005949.pub2]