Plant-pathogenic bacteria cause dramatic yield and economic losses in agriculture. Moreover, the losses caused by these pathogens diminish our ability to meet humans’ ever-growing need for an adequate food supply. Understanding the virulence mechanisms of plant-pathogenic bacteria lays the foundation for novel, efficient, and sustainable management of bacterial diseases of plants.
Characterizing the interactions between bacteria and plants has become one of the most active areas of research. Tremendous progress and breakthroughs have been made since the 1990s, including the identification and characterization of bacterial protein secretion systems, the effectors delivered via these systems, and a diversity of virulence factors, as well as the genome sequencing of hundreds of plant-pathogenic bacteria. Studies in this area have not only advanced our knowledge of plant–bacteria interactions, but they have also provided unique tools that benefit humankind in other ways. For example, transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) technology has enormous potential for gene therapy. This fast-developing area is also attracting young generations of scientists to plant pathology, ensuring the future success of both the research and the community.
The editors’ and authors’ chief goal in writing this book was to create a dynamic, reliable resource of reviews of the exciting progress that has been made in studying virulence mechanisms of plant-pathogenic bacteria—one that would be useful to colleagues, graduate students, and other interested parties. Toward that goal, the editors have worked with the APS PRESS Board of Directors to develop Virulence Mechanisms of Plant-Pathogenic Bacteria.
This book is divided into two main parts. Part I includes chapters on quorum sensing, biofilms, pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), cell surface polysaccharides (SPSs), fimbrial surface attachment structures, cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) regulation, bacterial secretion systems and effectors, cell-wall-degrading enzymes, regulatory mechanisms, metals as regulators of virulence, and high-throughput sequencing technology. The chapters in Part II describe case studies of virulence mechanisms of important bacterial pathogens in agriculture, including ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ spp., Xylella fastidiosa, phytoplasmas, spiroplasmas, Erwinia amylovora, Ralstonia spp., Xanthomonas spp., Pectobacterium and Dickeya spp., and Streptomyces spp.
This book is an initial effort at creating a central resource and assembling reviews on virulence mechanisms of plant-pathogenic bacteria. The editors plan to revisit this information on an ongoing basis and to update it according to the need for additional content and to address the research progress that is made. They welcome colleagues to contribute to this process by submitting reviews on related topics and constructive suggestions about the book. With this participation, the editors hope to advance our understanding of virulence mechanisms of plant-pathogenic bacteria.