Host cell modulation by human, animal and plant pathogens
Members of the α-proteobacteria display a broad range of interactions with higher eukaryotes. Some are pathogens of humans, such as Rickettsia and Bartonella that are associated with diseases like epidemic typhus, trench fever, cat scratch disease and bacillary angiomatosis. Others like the Brucella cause abortions in pregnant animals. Yet other species have evolved elaborate interactions with plants; in this group we find both plant symbionts and parasites. Despite radically different host preferences, extreme genome size variations and the absence of toxin genes, similarities in survival strategies and host cell interactions can be recognized among members of the α-proteobacteria. Here, we review some of these similarities, with a focus on strategies for modulation of the host target cell.
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