Comparative genomics reveals what makes an enterobacterial plant pathogen

Ian K. Toth, Leighton Pritchard, Paul R.J. Birch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

127 Citations (Scopus)


The bacterial family Enterobacteriaceae contains some of the most devastating human and animal pathogens, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica and species of Yersinia and Shigella. These are among the best-studied of any organisms, yet there is much to be learned about the nature and evolution of interactions with their hosts and with the wider environment. Comparative and functional genomics have fundamentally improved our understanding of their modes of adaptation to different ecological niches and the genes that determine their pathogenicity. In addition to animal pathogens, Enterobacteriaceae include important plant pathogens, such as Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica (Eca), the first plant-pathogenic enterobacterium to be sequenced (20). This review focuses on genomic comparisons between Eca and other enterobacteria, with particular emphasis on the differences that exemplify or explain the plant-associated lifestyle(s) of Eca. Horizontal gene transfer in Eca may directly have led to the acquisition of a number of determinants that mediate its interactions, pathogenic or otherwise, with plants, offering a glimpse into its evolutionary divergence from animal-pathogenic ennterobacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Phytopathology
EditorsDawson Alfen
Place of PublicationPalo Alto, California
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2006

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Phytopathology
ISSN (Print)0066-4286


  • Erwinia
  • horizontal gene transfer
  • phytopathogen
  • soft rot
  • type III secretion
  • plant disease


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