Agrobacterium tumefaciens‐mediated Transformation of Plant Cells


Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a Gram‐negative soil bacterium that causes plant tumours by transferring a portion of DNA from a resident ‘tumour inducing’ (Ti) plasmid into plant cells where it is integrated into a plant chromosome and expressed. This bacteria's capacity for DNA transfer is the basis of most current plant genetic engineering and make it a model system for the study of pathogenic bacteria that transfer virulence factors to any eukaryotic cell.

Keywords: agrobacterium tumefaciens; ti plasmid; DNA transfer; plant genetic engineering; crown gall tumours

Figure 1.

Kalanchoe daigremontia leaves were scratched with a sterile needle and infected with Agrobacterium tumefaciens carrying a Ti plasmid (A, B, C) or lacking a Ti plasmid (D). Photograph taken 4 weeks after infection.

Figure 2.

Diagram of the Ti plasmid, illustrating the relative locations of the T‐DNA, the border sequences (>), the virulence (vir) region, the conjugal transfer (tra) regions and the opine catabolism (occ) region.

Figure 3.

Steps in Agrobacterium‐mediated DNA transfer into a plant cell.

Figure 4.

The chemical composition of some well‐characterized opines.


Further Reading

Binns AN and Howitz VR (1994) The genetic and chemical basis of host recognition by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 192: 119–138.

Christie PJ (1997) Agrobacterium tumefaciens T‐complex transport apparatus: a paradigm for a new family of multifunctional transporters in Eubacteria. Journal of Bacteriology 179: 3085–3094.

Kado CI (1998) Agrobacterium‐mediated horizontal gene transfer. Genetic Engineering 20: 1–24.

Spaink H, Kondorosi A and Hooykaas PJJ (eds) (1998) The Rhizobiaceae. Dordrecht: Kluwer Press.

Winans SC, Burns DL and Christie PJ (1996) Adaptation of a conjugal transfer system for the export of pathogenic macromolecules. Trends in Microbiology 4: 64–68.

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

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How to Cite close
Binns, Andrew, and Campbell, Angela(Apr 2001) Agrobacterium tumefaciens‐mediated Transformation of Plant Cells. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001492]