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PLoS One. 2008;3(12):e3891. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003891. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

A metasystem of framework model organisms to study emergence of new host-microbe adaptations.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


An unintended consequence of global industrialization and associated societal rearrangements is new interactions of microbes and potential hosts (especially mammals and plants), providing an opportunity for the rapid emergence of host-microbe adaptation and eventual establishment of new microbe-related diseases. We describe a new model system comprising the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and several microbes, each representing different modes of interaction, to study such "maladaptations". The model microbes include human and agricultural pathogens and microbes that are commonly considered innocuous. The system has a large knowledge base corresponding to each component organism and is amenable to high-throughput automation assisted perturbation screens for identifying components that modulate host-pathogen interactions. This would aid in the study of emergence and progression of host-microbe maladaptations in a controlled environment.

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