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J Pathog. 2014;2014:651568. doi: 10.1155/2014/651568. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Tailoring the Immune Response via Customization of Pathogen Gene Expression.

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Department of Life Sciences, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), Old Westbury, NY 11568, USA.
Codagenix, Inc., Long Island High Technology Incubator, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.
Codagenix, Inc., Long Island High Technology Incubator, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA ; Department of Biology, Farmingdale State College (SUNY), Farmingdale, NY 11735, USA.


The majority of studies focused on the construction and reengineering of bacterial pathogens have mainly relied on the knocking out of virulence factors or deletion/mutation of amino acid residues to then observe the microbe's phenotype and the resulting effect on the host immune response. These knockout bacterial strains have also been proposed as vaccines to combat bacterial disease. Theoretically, knockout strains would be unable to cause disease since their virulence factors have been removed, yet they could induce a protective memory response. While knockout strains have been valuable tools to discern the role of virulence factors in host immunity and bacterial pathogenesis, they have been unable to yield clinically relevant vaccines. The advent of synthetic biology and enhanced user-directed gene customization has altered this binary process of knockout, followed by observation. Recent studies have shown that a researcher can now tailor and customize a given microbe's gene expression to produce a desired immune response. In this commentary, we highlight these studies as a new avenue for controlling the inflammatory response as well as vaccine development.

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