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Biotechnol Adv. 2004 May;22(5):363-82.

Plants as models for the study of human pathogenesis.

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Department of Botany, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks St., Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3B2.


There are many common disease mechanisms used by bacterial pathogens of plants and humans. They use common means of attachment, secretion and genetic regulation. They share many virulence factors, such as extracellular polysaccharides and some type III secreted effectors. Plant and human innate immune systems also share many similarities. Many of these shared bacterial virulence mechanisms are homologous, but even more appear to have independently converged on a common function. This combination of homologous and analogous systems reveals conserved and critical steps in the disease process. Given these similarities, and the many experimental advantages of plant biology, including ease of replication, stringent genetic and reproductive control, and high throughput with low cost, it is proposed that plants would make excellent models for the study of human pathogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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