Date Published: November 3, 2016
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Michael F. Seidl, David E. Cook, Bart P. H. J. Thomma, Cyril Zipfel.
An organism’s adaptation to changing environments is fueled by its genetic variability, which is established by mechanisms ranging from single-nucleotide polymorphisms to large-scale structural variations, all of which affect chromosomal shape, organization, and gene content . These processes are particularly relevant for pathogens that must respond to continual selection pressure arising from host immune systems that evolved to detect the presence or activity of potential microbial pathogens through a variety of invasion patterns . In their adaptive response, pathogens evolve strategies, often involving secreted effector molecules, to overcome host immunity and support host colonization . Thus, it can be anticipated that this coevolutionary arms race leads to highly specific interactions between adapted pathogens and their specific hosts. Paradoxically, particular pathogens successfully colonize a broad range of hosts, yet how such pathogens cope in arms races with such a diversity of hosts remains unknown.