About this Research Topic
Microbes and their hosts are engaged in a continual struggle to survive and pass on their genetic information. This struggle shapes the genetic diversity of both bacterial and host populations and leaves lasting imprints long after an epidemic has passed.
An in-depth understanding of the genetic architecture of bacterial-host interactions consists of mapping genetic differences onto phenotypic variation, a mechanistic understanding of how those variants alter pathophysiology of infection, and evolutionary insight into the forces that have shaped genetic diversity. In contrast to studies of most complex traits, bacterial-host interactions are the product of the interplay of at least two genomes, each presenting unique challenges. For bacteria, evolutionary changes can occur quickly over not only a single outbreak but within individual hosts. Transfer of genetic information, through horizontal gene transfer within a single bacterial species and also among species, presents opportunities for inheritance of genetic differences of large effect that contribute to rapid evolution. For humans and other hosts, evolutionary change is slower and though genetic differences can have very large effects on infection (such as with the sickle cell allele and malaria risk), small effect sizes are more often observed in complex human diseases. Common genetic differences that confer resistance to infectious disease susceptibility also manifest with unexpected consequences in autoimmunity or chronic disease. Finally, the combination of genetic variation in host and pathogen leads to an additional source of heterogeneity in understanding the consequences of genetic diversity on either side of bacterial-host interactions and integrative methods will likely be useful.
The goal of this Research Topic is to bring together cutting-edge original articles, new methods, reviews, and perspectives in genetic diversity spanning bacteria within a single host to genetic diversity in human susceptibility to infectious diseases. We hope that this collection will alert researchers, studying along this entire spectrum, to applicable methods and conceptual advances that they might otherwise be not aware. Some areas of particular interest:
1) Natural selection during acute and chronic infections in individual hosts
2) Genetic diversity in microbial populations and evolution of virulence traits
3) Genetic diversity among humans for molecular and cellular host-pathogen traits
4) Use of model organisms in understanding natural genetic susceptibility and resistance
5) Human genetic susceptibility and resistance to bacterial infectious diseases
Keywords: Genetic susceptibility, Evolution, Comparative genomics, Genome-wide association, Immunity
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.