Systems biology approaches to understanding mycobacterial survival mechanisms
The advent of high-throughput platforms for the interrogation of biological systems at the cellular and molecular levels has allowed living cells to be observed and understood at a hitherto unprecedented level of detail and has enabled the construction of comprehensive, predictive in silico models. Here, we review the application of such high-throughput, systems-biological techniques to mycobacteria – specifically to the pernicious human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTb) and its ability to survive in human hosts. We discuss the development and application of transcriptomic, proteomic, regulomic, and metabolomic techniques for MTb as well as the development and application of genome-scale in silico models. Thus far, systems-biological approaches have largely focused on in vitro models of MTb growth; reliably extending these approaches to in vivo conditions relevant to infection is a significant challenge for the future that holds the ultimate promise of novel chemotherapeutic interventions.