Research Topic

Host-Directed Antiviral Strategies for Control of RNA Positive Stranded Emerging and Re-Emerging Viruses

About this Research Topic

The increasing periodic emergence of new viral pathogens or reemergence of old ones represents a serious threat to health. Specific therapeutics for emerging viruses are not available at present and treatment is usually limited to symptomatic supportive care. The reliance of viruses on several host molecules and processes for productive infection highlights the perspectives of targeting a cellular factor as an attractive antiviral approach. In the last decades', research about the involvement of virus-cell interactions for successful virus infection has regained interest, and the support of omics technology together with bioinformatics have provided adequate tools to assist in the knowledge of the virus-host interactome for diverse pathogens. Consequently, numerous reports for cell-based inhibitory strategies have been reported in the last years.

Since many host requirements are shared by different pathogenic viruses from diverse families, this strategy may provide a broad-spectrum inhibitory agent effective for the treatment of neglected diseases caused by unrelated circulating viruses as well as for the therapy of future emergent pathogens. Furthermore, this approach is predictable to reduce the challenge of a selection of antiviral resistant variants (a frequent event during chemotherapy of viruses due to their genetic variation) since it is not expected that individual viral mutations will compensate for the failure of a required host factor. Another advantage of cellular targets is the chance of repurposing drugs licensed for clinical use in other human disorders with a defined safety profile as antiviral agents, and thus requiring only the assessment of the new therapeutic activity for their approval.


This Research Topic aims to present original research, brief research reports, reviews, minireviews, perspectives, commentaries on the present state and future perspectives for host-directed antiviral strategies to combat a particular group of emerging and reemerging viruses, the RNA positive-stranded viruses, mainly including flaviviruses, alphaviruses, coronaviruses, noroviruses, among others.


The topic will focus on the antiviral potential of druggable host cell factors directly participating in the viral cycle of infection (attachment and receptor molecules, endocytosis and trafficking for entry, lipid metabolism, cellular enzymes involved in nucleotide metabolism, post-translational modifications, and processing of viral proteins, intracellular signaling pathways, virus-cell interactions, exploitation of cellular membranes and organelles) as well as those involved in the innate antiviral response triggered to restrict and control viral dissemination and pathogenesis (interferon activity and pharmacological activation, interferon-stimulated genes, inflammatory responses, signaling pathways, cell-intrinsic restriction factors). Structural and functional studies about host-directed macromolecules, small molecules, and natural products are welcome, together with their combination with direct-acting antivirals to get the best potential of both strategies. Submission of computational or bioinformatic modeling for analyses of the viral-host interactome leading to the identification of new potential therapeutic targets is also encouraged but needs to be supported by biological experimentation.


Keywords: Druggable Host Target, RNA Positive Stranded Emerging Virus, Host-Virus Interaction, Innate Antiviral Response, Cell-Intrinsic Restriction Factor


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The increasing periodic emergence of new viral pathogens or reemergence of old ones represents a serious threat to health. Specific therapeutics for emerging viruses are not available at present and treatment is usually limited to symptomatic supportive care. The reliance of viruses on several host molecules and processes for productive infection highlights the perspectives of targeting a cellular factor as an attractive antiviral approach. In the last decades', research about the involvement of virus-cell interactions for successful virus infection has regained interest, and the support of omics technology together with bioinformatics have provided adequate tools to assist in the knowledge of the virus-host interactome for diverse pathogens. Consequently, numerous reports for cell-based inhibitory strategies have been reported in the last years.

Since many host requirements are shared by different pathogenic viruses from diverse families, this strategy may provide a broad-spectrum inhibitory agent effective for the treatment of neglected diseases caused by unrelated circulating viruses as well as for the therapy of future emergent pathogens. Furthermore, this approach is predictable to reduce the challenge of a selection of antiviral resistant variants (a frequent event during chemotherapy of viruses due to their genetic variation) since it is not expected that individual viral mutations will compensate for the failure of a required host factor. Another advantage of cellular targets is the chance of repurposing drugs licensed for clinical use in other human disorders with a defined safety profile as antiviral agents, and thus requiring only the assessment of the new therapeutic activity for their approval.


This Research Topic aims to present original research, brief research reports, reviews, minireviews, perspectives, commentaries on the present state and future perspectives for host-directed antiviral strategies to combat a particular group of emerging and reemerging viruses, the RNA positive-stranded viruses, mainly including flaviviruses, alphaviruses, coronaviruses, noroviruses, among others.


The topic will focus on the antiviral potential of druggable host cell factors directly participating in the viral cycle of infection (attachment and receptor molecules, endocytosis and trafficking for entry, lipid metabolism, cellular enzymes involved in nucleotide metabolism, post-translational modifications, and processing of viral proteins, intracellular signaling pathways, virus-cell interactions, exploitation of cellular membranes and organelles) as well as those involved in the innate antiviral response triggered to restrict and control viral dissemination and pathogenesis (interferon activity and pharmacological activation, interferon-stimulated genes, inflammatory responses, signaling pathways, cell-intrinsic restriction factors). Structural and functional studies about host-directed macromolecules, small molecules, and natural products are welcome, together with their combination with direct-acting antivirals to get the best potential of both strategies. Submission of computational or bioinformatic modeling for analyses of the viral-host interactome leading to the identification of new potential therapeutic targets is also encouraged but needs to be supported by biological experimentation.


Keywords: Druggable Host Target, RNA Positive Stranded Emerging Virus, Host-Virus Interaction, Innate Antiviral Response, Cell-Intrinsic Restriction Factor


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Abstract
25 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Abstract
25 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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