Challenges and Opportunities in Understanding Genetics of Fungal Diseases: Towards a Functional Genomics Approach
SourceInfection and Immunity, 89, 8, (2021), article e0000521
Article / Letter to editor
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Infection and Immunity
SubjectRadboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Infectious diseases are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and human pathogens have long been recognized as one of the main sources of evolutionary pressure, resulting in a high variable genetic background in immune-related genes. The study of the genetic contribution to infectious diseases has undergone tremendous advances over the last decades. Here, focusing on genetic predisposition to fungal diseases, we provide an overview of the available approaches for studying human genetic susceptibility to infections, reviewing current methodological and practical limitations. We describe how the classical methods available, such as family-based studies and candidate gene studies, have contributed to the discovery of crucial susceptibility factors for fungal infections. We will also discuss the contribution of novel unbiased approaches to the field, highlighting their success but also their limitations for the fungal immunology field. Finally, we show how a systems genomics approach can overcome those limitations and can lead to efficient prioritization and identification of genes and pathways with a critical role in susceptibility to fungal diseases. This knowledge will help to stratify at-risk patient groups and, subsequently, develop early appropriate prophylactic and treatment strategies.
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