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VirE1-Mediated Resistance to Crown Gall in Transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana

January 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  1
Pages  105 - 110

Jodi Humann , Sarah Andrews , and Walt Ream

Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331

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Accepted for publication 3 September 2005.

Crown gall disease, caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens, remains a serious agricultural problem despite current biocontrol methods. Agrobacterium tumefaciens transfers single-stranded DNA (T-strands) into plant cells along with several virulence proteins, including a single-stranded DNA-binding protein (VirE2). In plant cells, T-strands are protected from nucleases and targeted to the nucleus by VirE2, which is essential for efficient transmission (transfer and integration) of T-strands. VirE1 is the secretory chaperone for VirE2; it prevents VirE2 from forming aggregates and from binding the T-strands in bacterial cells. Therefore, we hypothesized that sufficient quantities of VirE1 expressed in plant cells might block T-DNA transmission by preventing VirE2 from binding T-strands. Here we show that root explants from Arabidopsis thaliana plants that expressed virE1 formed 3.5-fold fewer tumors than roots from plants without virE1. Also, this resistance was specific for VirE2-mediated Agrobacterium transformation. Plants that have been genetically altered to resist crown gall may prove more effective than biological control.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society