Ti Plasmids


Ti plasmids are plasmids from the genus Agrobacterium that encode a natural system of plant transformation. They are used extensively as vectors for plant genetic engineering.

Keywords: Ti plasmids; agrobacterium; plant transformation vectors; plant genetic engineering; plant–microbe interactions

Figure 1.

Genetic map of an octopine Ti plasmid.

Figure 2.

Transfer of the T‐DNA to the plant cell and its control by the vir genes.

Figure 3.

Induction of opine synthesis in the crown gall cell and use of opines by the bacterium.

Figure 4.

Agrobacterium strain for genetic engineering. The strain contains a T‐DNA‐less helper plasmid and a binary vector with an artificial T‐DNA. nptII‐P and nptII‐B designate genes which are expressed in the plant (P) or in the bacterium (B); oriV (BHR), origin of replication.



Bechtold N, Ellis J and Pelletier G (1993) In planta Agrobacterium mediated gene transfer by infiltration of adult Arabidopsis thaliana plants. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences Paris 316: 1194–1199.

Chilton M‐D, Drummond MH, Merlo DJ et al. (1977) Stable incorporation of plasmid DNA into higher plant cells: the molecular basis of crown gall tumorigenesis. Cell 11: 263–271.

Clare BG, Kerr A and Jones DA (1990) Characteristics of the nopaline catabolic plasmid of Agrobacterium strains K84 and K1026 used for biological control of crown gall disease. Plasmid 23: 126–137.

De Groot MJA, Bundock P, Hooykaas PJJ and Beijersbergen AGM (1998) Agrobacterium tumefaciens‐mediated transformation of filamentous fungi. Nature Biotechnology 16: 839–842.

Fullner KJ, Lara LC and Nester EW (1996) Pilus assembly by Agrobacterium T‐DNA transfer genes. Science 273: 1107–1109.

Guyon P, Petit A, Tempé J and Dessaux Y (1993) Transformed plants producing opines specifically promote growth of opine‐degrading Agrobacteria. Molecular Plant–Microbe Interactions 6: 92–98.

Hernalsteens JP, Van Vliet F, De Beuckeleer M et al. (1980) The Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti plasmid as a host vector system for introducing foreign DNA in plant cells. Nature 287: 654–656.

Hoekema A, Hirsch PR, Hooykaas PJJ and Schilperoort RA (1983) A binary plant vector strategy based on separation of vir‐ and T‐region of Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti plasmid. Nature 303: 179–180.

Hood EE, Helmer GL, Fraley RT and Chilton M‐D (1986) The hypervirulence of Agrobacterium tumefaciens A281 is encoded in a region of pTiBo542 outside of T‐DNA. Journal of Bacteriology 168: 1291–1301.

Ichikawa T, Ozeki Y and Syono K (1990) Evidence for the expression of the rol genes of Nicotiana glauca in genetic tumours of N. glauca × N. langsdorfii. Molecular General Genetics 220: 177–180.

Matthysse AG and McMahan S (1998) Root colonization by Agrobacterium tumefaciens is reduced in cel, attB, attD, and attR mutants. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 64: 2341–2345.

Otten L and Schmidt J (1998) A T‐DNA from the Agrobacterium tumefaciens limited‐host‐range strain AB2/73 contains a single oncogene. Molecular Plant–Microbe Interactions 11: 335–342.

Otten L, De Ruffray P, Momol EA, Momol MT and Burr TJ (1996) Phylogenetic relationships between Agrobacterium vitis isolates and their Ti plasmids. Molecular Plant–Microbe Interactions 9: 782–786.

Peach C and Velten J (1991) Transgene expression variability (position effect) of CAT and GUS reporter genes driven by linked divergent T‐DNA promoters. Plant Molecular Biology 17: 49–60.

Ryder MH, Tate ME and Jones GP (1984) Agrocinopine A, a tumour‐inducing plasmid‐encoded enzyme product, is a phosphodiester of sucrose and l‐arabinose. Journal of Biological Chemistry 259: 9704–9710.

Salomone JY, Szegedi E, Cobanov P and Otten L (1998) Tartrate utilization genes promote growth of Agrobacterium on grapevine. Molecular Plant–Microbe Interactions 11: 836–838.

Schmülling T, Beinsberger S, Degreef J et al. (1989) Construction of a heat‐inducible chimaeric gene to induce the cytokinin content in transgenic plant tissue. FEBS Letters 249: 401–406.

Van Larebeke N, Engler G, Holsters M et al. (1974) Large plasmid in Agrobacterium tumefaciens essential for crown‐gall‐inducing ability. Nature 252: 169–170.

Further Reading

Farrand SK, Piper SK, Sackett R et al. (1996) Homoserin lactone‐mediated microbial signaling: a communication system common to plant‐associated bacteria. In: Stacey G, Mullin B and Gresshoff PM (eds) Biology of Plant–Microbe Interactions, pp. 173–179. St Paul, MN: International Society for Molecular Plant–Microbe Interactions.

Gaudin V, Vrain T and Jouanin L (1994) Bacterial genes modifying hormonal balances in plants. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 32: 11–29.

Hooykaas PJJ and Beijersbergen A (1994) The virulence system of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Annual Review of Phytopathology 32: 157–179.

Kim K‐S and Farrand SK (1997) Characterization of the acc operon from the nopaline‐type Ti plasmid pTiC58, which encodes utilization of agrocinopines A and B and susceptibility to agrocin 84. Journal of Bacteriology 179: 7559–7572.

Lessl M and Lanka E (1994) Common mechanisms in bacterial conjugation and Ti‐mediated T‐DNA transfer to plant cells. Cell 7: 321–324.

Levesque H, Delepelaire P, Rouzé P, Slightom J and Tepfer D (1998) Common evolutionary origin of the central portions of the Ri TL‐DNA of Agrobacterium rhizogenes and the Ti T‐DNAs of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Plant Molecular Biology 11: 731–744.

Otten L, Canaday J, Gérard J‐C et al. (1992) Evolution of Agrobacteria and their Ti plasmids – A review. Molecular Plant–Microbe Interactions 5: 279–287.

Tempé J, Guyon P, Tepfer D and Petit A (1979) The role of opines in the ecology of the Ti plasmids of Agrobacterium. In: Timmis KN and Pühler A (eds) Plasmids of Medical, Environmental and Commercial Importance, pp. 353–361. Amsterdam: Elsevier/North Holland Biomedical Press.

Winans S (1992) Two‐way chemical signaling in Agrobacterium–plant interactions. Microbiological Reviews 56: 12–31.

Zupan JR and Zambryski P (1997) The Agrobacterium DNA transfer complex. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 16: 279–295.

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Otten, Leon(Apr 2001) Ti Plasmids. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000477]