The power of bioluminescence imaging in understanding host-pathogen interactions

Natalie Suff, Simon N Waddington

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Infectious diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Modelling and understanding human infection is imperative to developing treatments to reduce the global burden of infectious disease. Bioluminescence imaging is a highly sensitive, non-invasive technique based on the detection of light, produced by luciferase-catalysed reactions. In the study of infectious disease, bioluminescence imaging is a well-established technique; it can be used to detect, localize and quantify specific immune cells, pathogens or immunological processes. This enables longitudinal studies in which the spectrum of the disease process and its response to therapies can be monitored. Light producing transgenic rodents are emerging as key tools in the study of host response to infection. Here, we review the strategies for identifying biological processes in vivo, including the technology of bioluminescence imaging and illustrate how this technique is shedding light on the host-pathogen relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
Early online date8 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2017


  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases/microbiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Luciferases
  • Luminescent Measurements/methods
  • Mice
  • Rats


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