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Complementation analysis of Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti plasmid virB genes by use of a vir promoter expression vector: virB9, virB10, and virB11 are essential virulence genes.

By J E Ward, E M Dale, P J Christie, E W Nester and A N Binns


The virB gene products of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid have been proposed to mediate T-DNA transport through the bacterial cell wall into plant cells. Previous genetic analysis of the approximately 9.5-kilobase-pair virB operon has been limited to transposon insertion mutagenesis. Due to the polarity of the transposon insertions, only the last gene in the operon, virB11, is known to provide an essential virulence function. We have now begun to assess the contribution of the other virB genes to virulence. First, several previously isolated Tn3-HoHo1 insertions in the 3' end of the virB operon were precisely mapped by nucleotide sequence analysis. Protein extracts from A. tumefaciens strains harboring these insertions on the Ti plasmid were subjected to immunostaining analysis with VirB4-, VirB10-, and VirB11-specific antisera to determine the effect of the insertion on virB gene expression. In this manner, avirulent mutants containing polar insertions in the virB9 and virB10 genes were identified. To carry out a complementation analysis with these virB mutants, expression vectors were constructed that allow cloned genes to be expressed from the virB promoter in A. tumefaciens. These plasmids were used to express combinations of the virB9, virB10, and virB11 genes in trans in the virB insertion mutants, thereby creating strains lacking only one of these three virB gene products. Virulence assays on Kalanchoe daigremontiana demonstrated that in addition to virB11, the virB9 and virB10 genes are required for tumorigenicity

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1990
DOI identifier: 10.1128/jb.172.9.5187-5199.1990
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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