Xanthomonas as a Model System for Studying Pathogen Emergence and Evolution

Phytopathology. 2024 Jul;114(7):1433-1446. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-03-24-0084-RVW. Epub 2024 Jul 5.


In this review, we highlight studies in which whole-genome sequencing, comparative genomics, and population genomics have provided unprecedented insights into past and ongoing pathogen evolution. These include new understandings of the adaptive evolution of secretion systems and their effectors. We focus on Xanthomonas pathosystems that have seen intensive study and improved our understanding of pathogen emergence and evolution, particularly in the context of host specialization: citrus canker, bacterial blight of rice, and bacterial spot of tomato and pepper. Across pathosystems, pathogens appear to follow a pattern of bursts of evolution and diversification that impact host adaptation. There remains a need for studies on the mechanisms of host range evolution and genetic exchange among closely related but differentially host-specialized species and to start moving beyond the study of specific strain and host cultivar pairwise interactions to thinking about these pathosystems in a community context.

Keywords: bacterial pathogens; disease resistance; evolution; genomics; pathogen effectors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Capsicum / microbiology
  • Citrus / microbiology
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genomics
  • Host Specificity
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Oryza / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases* / microbiology
  • Xanthomonas* / genetics
  • Xanthomonas* / pathogenicity
  • Xanthomonas* / physiology