Viruses pose substantial challenges for society, economy, healthcare systems, and research. Their distinctive pathologies are based on specific interactions with cellular factors. In order to develop new antiviral treatments, it is of central importance to understand how viruses interact with their host and how infected cells react to the virus on a molecular level. Invading viruses are commonly sensed by components of the innate immune system, which is composed of a highly effective yet complex network of proteins that, in most cases, mediate efficient virus inhibition. Central to this process is the activity of interferons and other cytokines that coordinate the antiviral response. So far, numerous methods have been used to identify how viruses interact with cellular processes and revealed that the innate immune response is highly complex and involves interferon-stimulated genes and their binding partners as functional factors. Novel approaches and careful experimental design, combined with large-scale, high-throughput methods and cutting-edge analysis pipelines, have to be utilized to delineate the antiviral innate immune landscape at a global level. In this review, we describe different currently used screening approaches, how they contributed to our knowledge on virus-host interactions, and essential considerations that have to be taken into account when planning such experiments.
Keywords: gene regulation; genetic screens; innate immunity; interferon-stimulated genes; knockout; overexpression; virus–host interactions.