About this Research Topic
Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites still account for a quarter of deaths worldwide and are ranked as the top cause of death in developing countries and the number one killer of children under the age of five years globally. Rising hospitalization rates for cancer, diabetes and aged care are associated with an increased risk of acquiring infections particularly with multidrug-resistant organisms. We see frequent epidemic outbreaks and are challenged by the rapid spread of infectious agents around the globe. Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop new tools and uncover novel therapeutic targets and prophylactic strategies to thwart the economic burden of infectious diseases on the public health systems throughout the world.
The recent development of the CRISPR/Cas9 system as a genome-editing technique has significantly facilitated gene modifications in both host and pathogen cells. Within a few years, researchers have already applied CRISPR/Cas9 across a wide variety of infections with pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. This now enables profound analysis of the molecular mechanisms that are involved in e.g. host-pathogen interactions during infection. Whole genome CRISPR/Cas9 screens have led to the identification of novel regulator proteins that are central for manifestation of infection and thus present novel therapeutic targets. Furthermore, CRISPR/Cas9 has supported the development of novel antimicrobials and vaccines, opening new avenues both for treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. However, with the rapid advance of CRISPR systems and their versatile applicability as genetic tools, we are still at the beginning of an exciting era that could see further major breakthrough discoveries in infectious disease research.
This Research Topic aims to highlight the valuable contributions CRISPR/Cas9 as genetic tool has made in our understanding of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and parasites as well as their interactions with eukaryotic host cells. We will incorporate reviews and mini reviews, original research reports and method articles to cover the latest findings and advances achieved by utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 in infectious disease research.
Dr Doerflinger is participating as Assistant Topic Editor and as such his actions are overseen by the senior Topic Editors Dr Hartland and Dr Herold.
Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9, infectious disease, pathogenic bacteria, viral infection, whole genome screening
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