Caister Academic Press

Adaptation to the Plant Apoplast by Plant Pathogenic Bacteria

Arantza Rico, Rachel Jones, and Gail M. Preston
from: Plant Pathogenic Bacteria: Genomics and Molecular Biology (Edited by: Robert W. Jackson). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2009)


Many plant pathogenic bacteria spend most of their parasitic life in the apoplast, which is the intercellular space of the plants. The apoplast is a nutrient-limited environment that is guarded by plant defences, so plant pathogenic bacteria have evolved several strategies to succesfully colonize this niche, which include the type III secretion system and its effectors, toxins and cell wall degrading enzymes, among others. Genomic and nutritional assays suggest that some apoplast-colonising pathogens show nutritional specialization to the plant host and it is possible that some of the keys to apoplast colonisation reside in bacterial adaptation to, and modulation of the nutritional and physiological characteristics of the plant apoplast. In this chapter, we offer a review of bacterial strategies for the adaptation to the apoplast in plant pathogenic bacteria, and of the evolutionary processes that may have affected the evolution of these strategies. We also discuss evidence for the hypothesis that successful pathogens modulate plant metabolism for their benefit. Finally we propose strategies and avenues for research that will promote further understanding of the complex picture of apoplast physiology during disease development read more ...
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