Non-plant pathogenic endophytic bacteria can promote plant growth, improve nitrogen nutrition, and, in some cases, are human pathogens. Recent work in several laboratories has shown that enteric bacteria are common inhabitants of the interior of plants. These observations led to the experiments that showed the entry into plants of enteric human pathogens such as and O157:H7. The extent of endophytic colonization by strains is regulated by plant defenses and several genetic determinants necessary for this interior colonization in endophytic bacteria have been identified. The genomes of four endophytic bacteria now available should promote discovery of other genes that contribute to this phenotype. Common virulence factors in plant and animal pathogens have also been described in bacteria that can infect both plant and animal models. Future directions in all of these areas are proposed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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