Intracellular pathogenic bacteria and fungi - A case of convergent evolution?

James B. Bliska, Arturo Casadevall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bacterium Yersinia pestis and the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans are the causative agents of human plague and cryptococcosis, respectively. Both microorganisms are facultatively intracellular pathogens. A comparison of their pathogenic strategies reveals similar tactics for intracellular survival in Y. pestis and C. neoformans despite their genetic unrelatedness. Both organisms can survive in environments where they are vulnerable to predation by amoeboid protozoal hosts. Here, we propose that the overall similarities in their pathogenic strategies are an example of convergent evolution that has solved the problem of intracellular survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases

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