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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 1998 Aug;1(4):329-35.

Determinants of pathogenicity and avirulence in plant pathogenic bacteria.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-4203, USA.


Many plant pathogenic bacteria possess a conserved protein secretion system that is thought to transfer Avr (avirulence) proteins, with potential activities in both parasitism and defense elicitation, into plant cells. avr genes may be acquired horizontally by these bacteria, and avr gene compositions are highly variable. In the past year, heterologous expression experiments have revealed that the products of avr genes can be interchanged among different genera of bacteria with retention of secretion, pathogenicity, and avirulence activities, suggesting mechanisms for rapid coevolution of these parasites with changing plant hosts.

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