Bacterial infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. By extending our understanding of the process of bacterial pathogenesis at the molecular level new strategies for their treatment and prevention can be developed. Proteomic technologies, along with other methods for global gene expression analysis, play an important role in understanding the mechanism(s) of bacterial pathogenesis. This review highlights the use of proteomics to identify protein biomarkers for virulent bacterial isolates and how these biomarkers can be correlated with the outcome of bacterial infection. Biomarker identification typically looks at the proteomes of bacteria grown under laboratory conditions. It is, however, the characterisation of the bacterial proteome during in vivo infection of its host that will eventually provide the most significant insights into bacterial pathogenesis. Although this area of research has significant technical challenges, a number of complementary proteome analytical approaches are being developed to identify and characterise the bacterial genes specifically expressed in vivo. Ultimately, the development of new targeted therapies and vaccines using specific protein targets indentified through proteomic analyses will be one of the major practical benefits arising from the proteomic analysis of bacterial pathogens.
- bacterial pathogenesis
- infectious diseases