The trans-kingdom identification of negative regulators of pathogen hypervirulence

Neil A. Brown, Martin Urban, Kim E. Hammond-Kosack

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


Modern society and global ecosystems are increasingly under threat from pathogens, which cause a plethora of human, animal, invertebrate and plant diseases. Of increasing concern is the trans-kingdom tendency for increased pathogen virulence that is beginning to emerge in natural, clinical and agricultural settings. The study of pathogenicity has revealed multiple examples of convergently evolved virulence mechanisms. Originally described as rare, but increasingly common, are interactions where a single gene deletion in a pathogenic species causes hypervirulence. This review utilised the pathogen-host interaction database ( to identify 112 hypervirulent mutations from 37 pathogen species, and subsequently interrogates the trans-kingdom, conserved, molecular, biochemical and cellular themes that cause hypervirulence. This study investigates 22 animal and 15 plant pathogens including 17 bacterial and 17 fungal species. Finally, the evolutionary significance and trans-kingdom requirement for negative regulators of hypervirulence and the implication of pathogen hypervirulence and emerging infectious diseases on society are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-40
Number of pages22
JournalFEMS Microbiology Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Bacteria
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Fungi
  • Pathogen
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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