Many Agrobacterium T-DNA genes belong to the highly diverse rolB family. The mode of action of most of these genes is still unknown. rolB-like sequences also are present at the 5′ ends of the T-DNA-located iaaM genes and the iaaM homolog orf8, whereas iaaM genes from Pseudomonas and Erwinia spp. lack such sequences. iaaMgenes encode tryptophan monooxygenases; these enzymes convert tryptophan into indole-3-acetamide, a precursor of indole-3-acetic acid. Tobacco plants expressing the rolB-like part of the A4 orf8 gene (2×35S-A4-Norf8 plants) accumulate glucose, fructose, sucrose, and starch and resemble sucrose transporter (NtSUT1) antisense plants. Different lines of evidence indicate that 2×35S-A4-Norf8 plants export less sucrose from source leaves. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, and starch accumulate in source leaves during sink-source transition, whereas sink tissues like petioles and midveins contain lower levels than normal. Petiole exudation experiments demonstrate a significant decrease in export of label after 14C-sucrose infiltration and after 14CO2 labeling. Grafting of stunted homozygous 2×35S-A4-Norf8 plants onto wild-type rootstocks restores growth, indicating that unloading is not affected. Growth of 2×35S-A4-Norf8 seedlings is inhibited on naphthalene acetic acid-containing media, suggesting a link between sucrose transport and auxin sensitivity.
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