Genome-Enabled Perspectives on the Composition, Evolution, and Expression of Virulence Determinants in Bacterial Plant Pathogens
Genome sequence analyses of bacterial plant pathogens are revealing important insights into the molecular determinants of pathogenicity and, through transcript characterization, responses to environmental conditions, evidence for small RNAs, and validation of uncharacterized genes. Genome comparison sheds further light on the processes impacting pathogen evolution and differences in gene repertoire among isolates contributing to niche specialization. Information derived from pathogen genome analysis is providing tools for use in diagnosis and interference with host-pathogen interactions for the purpose of disease control. However, the existing information infrastructure fails to adequately integrate the increasing numbers of sequence data sets, bioinformatic analyses, and experimental characterization, as required for effective systems-level analysis. Enhanced standardization of data formats at the point of publication is proposed as a possible solution.