Living in two worlds: The plant and insect lifestyles of Xylella fastidiosa
Diseases caused by Xylella fastidiosa have attained great importance worldwide as the pathogen and its insect vectors have been disseminated. Since this is the first plant pathogenic bacterium for which a complete genome sequence was determined, much progress has been made in understanding the process by which it spreads within the xylem vessels of susceptible plants as well as the traits that contribute to its acquisition and transmission by sharpshooter vectors. Athough this pathogen shares many similarities with Xanthomonas species, such as its use of a small fatty acid signal molecule to coordinate virulence gene expression, the traits that it utilizes to cause disease and the manner in which they are regulated differ substantially from those of related plant pathogens. Its complex lifestyle as both a plant and insect colonist involves traits that are in conflict with these stages, thus apparently necessitating the use of a gene regulatory scheme that allows cells expressing different traits to co-occur in the plant.