Author(s): Kirzinger MW, Nadarasah G, Stavrinides J
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Abstract Plant and human pathogens have evolved disease factors to successfully exploit their respective hosts. Phytopathogens utilize specific determinants that help to breach reinforced cell walls and manipulate plant physiology to facilitate the disease process, while human pathogens use determinants for exploiting mammalian physiology and overcoming highly developed adaptive immune responses. Emerging research, however, has highlighted the ability of seemingly dedicated human pathogens to cause plant disease, and specialized plant pathogens to cause human disease. Such microbes represent interesting systems for studying the evolution of cross-kingdom pathogenicity, and the benefits and tradeoffs of exploiting multiple hosts with drastically different morphologies and physiologies. This review will explore cross-kingdom pathogenicity, where plants and humans are common hosts. We illustrate that while cross-kingdom pathogenicity appears to be maintained, the directionality of host association (plant to human, or human to plant) is difficult to determine. Cross-kingdom human pathogens, and their potential plant reservoirs, have important implications for the emergence of infectious diseases.
This article was published in Genes (Basel)
and referenced in Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology