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Viruses 2015, 7(4), 2074-2098; doi:10.3390/v7042074

Can Plant Viruses Cross the Kingdom Border and Be Pathogenic to Humans?

1
Aix-Marseille Université, Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Émergentes (URMITE) UM 63 CNRS 7278 IRD 3R198 INSERM U1095, Facultés de Médecine et de Pharmacie, 27 boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille cedex 05, France
2
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), UR 407, Pathologie Végétale, 84140 Montfavet, France
3
Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) Méditerranée Infection, Pôle des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Clinique et Biologique, Fédération de Bactériologie-Hygiène-Virologie, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire Timone, Assistance publique - hôpitaux de Marseille, 264 rue Saint-Pierre, 13385 Marseille cedex 05, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Thomas Hohn
Received: 13 January 2015 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 6 April 2015 / Published: 20 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Viruses of Plants, Fungi and Protozoa)
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Abstract

Phytoviruses are highly prevalent in plants worldwide, including vegetables and fruits. Humans, and more generally animals, are exposed daily to these viruses, among which several are extremely stable. It is currently accepted that a strict separation exists between plant and vertebrate viruses regarding their host range and pathogenicity, and plant viruses are believed to infect only plants. Accordingly, plant viruses are not considered to present potential pathogenicity to humans and other vertebrates. Notwithstanding these beliefs, there are many examples where phytoviruses circulate and propagate in insect vectors. Several issues are raised here that question if plant viruses might further cross the kingdom barrier to cause diseases in humans. Indeed, there is close relatedness between some plant and animal viruses, and almost identical gene repertoires. Moreover, plant viruses can be detected in non-human mammals and humans samples, and there are evidence of immune responses to plant viruses in invertebrates, non-human vertebrates and humans, and of the entry of plant viruses or their genomes into non-human mammal cells and bodies after experimental exposure. Overall, the question raised here is unresolved, and several data prompt the additional extensive study of the interactions between phytoviruses and non-human mammals and humans, and the potential of these viruses to cause diseases in humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: plant virus; phytovirus; kingdom; human; animal; pathogenicity plant virus; phytovirus; kingdom; human; animal; pathogenicity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Balique, F.; Lecoq, H.; Raoult, D.; Colson, P. Can Plant Viruses Cross the Kingdom Border and Be Pathogenic to Humans? Viruses 2015, 7, 2074-2098.

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