Application of proteomics technology for analyzing the interactions between host cells and intracellular infectious agents

Proteomics. 2008 Feb;8(4):852-73. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200700664.


Host-pathogen interactions involve protein expression changes within both the host and the pathogen. An understanding of the nature of these interactions provides insight into metabolic processes and critical regulatory events of the host cell as well as into the mechanisms of pathogenesis by infectious microorganisms. Pathogen exposure induces changes in host proteins at many functional levels including cell signaling pathways, protein degradation, cytokines and growth factor production, phagocytosis, apoptosis, and cytoskeletal rearrangement. Since proteins are responsible for the cell biological functions, pathogens have evolved to manipulate the host cell proteome to achieve optimal replication. Intracellular pathogens can also change their proteome to adapt to the host cell and escape from immune surveillance, or can incorporate cellular proteins to invade other cells. Given that the interactions of intracellular infectious agents with host cells are mainly at the protein level, proteomics is the most suitable tool for investigating these interactions. Proteomics is the systematic analysis of proteins, particularly their interactions, modifications, localization and functions, that permits the study of the association between pathogens with their host cells as well as complex interactions such as the host-vector-pathogen interplay. A review on the most relevant proteomic applications used in the study of host-pathogen interactions is presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Fractionation
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Infections / physiopathology
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virulence


  • Proteins