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Semin Immunol. 2013 Oct 31;25(3):228-39. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

Systems approaches to influenza-virus host interactions and the pathogenesis of highly virulent and pandemic viruses.

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Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, and Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-8070, USA.


Influenza virus research has recently undergone a shift from a virus-centric perspective to one that embraces the full spectrum of virus-host interactions and cellular signaling events that determine disease outcome. This change has been brought about by the increasing use and expanding scope of high-throughput molecular profiling and computational biology, which together fuel discovery in systems biology. In this review, we show how these approaches have revealed an uncontrolled inflammatory response as a contributor to the extreme virulence of the 1918 pandemic and avian H5N1 viruses, and how this response differs from that induced by the 2009 H1N1 viruses responsible for the most recent influenza pandemic. We also discuss how new animal models, such as the Collaborative Cross mouse systems genetics platform, are key to the necessary systematic investigation of the impact of host genetics on infection outcome, how genome-wide RNAi screens have identified hundreds of cellular factors involved in viral replication, and how systems biology approaches are making possible the rational design of new drugs and vaccines against an ever-evolving respiratory virus.


Computational biology; Genomics; Inflammation; Influenza virus; Interferon; Systems biology

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