About this Research Topic
Obligate intracellular bacteria require a host cell in which to replicate, depending on a multitude of adaptative strategies to overcome antibacterial responses and successfully establish infection. Many members of this group are pathogenic to humans (e.g., Coxiella burnetti, Chlamydia trachomatis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia chaffensis, Orientia tsutsugamushi, many spotted fever and typhus group Rickettsia spp.) and represent a significant public health burden worldwide. The search for the diverse array of virulence mechanisms and their cellular targets has yielded a wealth of knowledge and progress in understanding microbial pathogenesis over the last 10 years, thanks to huge technical advances in genetic tools, imaging probes, high-throughput omics approaches and sequencing technologies. From these studies, it is now clear the tremendous variation among these pathogens in how they exploit host cells and evade immune responses. Additionally, these obligate intracellular bacteria have proved to be essential tools to obtain new insights into fundamental cellular functions, such as the proteostasis network, endocytic trafficking, or the cytoskeletal organization and function.
With this Research Topic, we would like to describe the most recent breakthroughs in understanding the interactions between obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens and their host cells. We believe much more is still to be uncovered, as many regulatory roles, manipulation strategies, and key players involved in regulating various cellular processes are as yet unknown. A thorough characterization of the interactions shaping the host-pathogen interface will also reveal new targets for therapeutic intervention, which are critical to expand the currently limited treatment options for most of the infectious diseases caused by obligate intracellular bacteria.
This Research Topic is dedicated to studies addressing the multiple facets of obligate intracellular bacteria as they go through their pathogenic life-cycle, evading, modulating, and exploiting the host to their benefit. We welcome Original Research articles, Mini-Reviews, and Reviews under, but not limited to, the following themes:
• Secreted effectors and their virulence mechanisms
• Studies on infection and colonization using OMICS approaches (proteomics, degradomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics) focused on the host, bacteria, or both
• Immune evasion mechanisms
• Pathogenicity determinants (e.g., hijackers of organelle function, sRNAs, nucleomodulins)
• Studies addressing the role of bacterial membrane vesicles in modulating host responses
• Protein moonlighting in obligate intracellular bacteria infections
• Experimental models of infection and pathogen’s interaction with different cell types
Keywords: Obligate intracellular bacteria, host-pathogen interactions, virulence factors, immune evasion, host-hijacking mechanisms
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.