Bacteria, fungi, parasites, prions and viruses cause a plethora of diseases that have important medical, agricultural, and economic consequences. Moreover, the study of microbes continues to provide novel insights into such fundamental processes as the molecular basis of cellular and organismal function.
PLOS Pathogens reflects the full breadth of research in these areas by publishing outstanding original articles that significantly advance the understanding of pathogens and how they interact with their host organisms. Topics include (but are not limited to) adaptive and innate immune defenses as well as pathogen countermeasures, emerging pathogens, evolution, genomics and gene regulation, model host organisms, pathogen-cell biology, pathogenesis, prions, proteomics and signal transduction, rational vaccine design, structural biology, and virulence factors.
The journal will not consider purely descriptive studies, such as those that solely identify a new genomic sequence of a related pathogen or a series of related pathogens, the isolation of pathogen variants, or a new strain or type based only on sequence analysis or correlative studies of host and pathogen genotypes.
Genomics studies, which include functional predictions or inferences based on genome sequence analysis, will also require additional experimental validation that directly tests the prediction/inference and yields novel conclusions about mechanistic models or pathogenesis. Instances where inferences about potential functions can be supported by association studies of genotype-phenotype combined with existing functional data, may also be appropriate, pending approval by the editors. If a paper provides novel mechanistic insight but lacks functional validation, it may be considered on a case-by-case basis.