Host-Pathogen Arms Race: A View from the Molecular Battlefield
R. Keith Slotkin, The Ohio State University

An arms race is defined as a conflict between two or more parties with a goal of having superior forces and weapons, resulting in a rapid escalation of technology. Often used to describe conflicts between nations, arms races also occur between species in nature, leading to the rapid evolution of new traits and behaviors. On the molecular level, an arms race is playing out on a daily basis within all of our cells, as we try to fend off parasites such as viruses and microbial pathogens. In this talk I will introduce the concept of a molecular arms race, and this session will see three outstanding examples of the arms races between eukaryotic cells and 1) mutagenic transposable elements 2) pathogenic viruses, and 3) diseases caused by prions. These talks will highlight the rapid escalation of traits and functions that both the host cell and pathogen evolve to gain a replicative advantage.

Background Review Articles:

Damon Lisch and R. Keith Slotkin. Strategies for Silencing and Escape: The Ancient Struggle Between Transposable Elements and Their Hosts, International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology, Volume 292, pp. 119-152. 2011 Elsevier Inc. ISSN 1937-6448, DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-386033-0.00003-7,

Slotkin, R. Keith, and Robert Martienssen. "Transposable elements and the epigenetic regulation of the genome." Nature Reviews Genetics 8.4 (2007): 272-285.

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