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J Bacteriol. Sep 1997; 179(17): 5372–5379.
PMCID: PMC179406

Attachment of Agrobacterium tumefaciens to carrot cells and Arabidopsis wound sites is correlated with the presence of a cell-associated, acidic polysaccharide.


An early step in crown gall tumor formation involves the attachment of Agrobacterium tumefaciens to host plant cells. A. tumefaciens C58::A205 (C58 attR) is a Tn3HoHo1 insertion mutant that was found to be avirulent on Bryophyllum daigremontiana and unable to attach to carrot suspension cells. The mutation mapped to an open reading frame encoding a putative protein of 247 amino acids which has significant homology to transacetylases from many bacteria. Biochemical analysis of polysaccharide extracts from wild-type strain C58 and the C58::A205 mutant showed that the latter was deficient in the production of a cell-associated polysaccharide. Anion-exchange chromatography followed by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses showed that the polysaccharide produced by strain C58 was an acetylated, acidic polysaccharide and that the polysaccharide preparation contained three sugars: glucose, glucosamine, and an unidentified deoxy-sugar. Application of the polysaccharide preparation from strain C58 to carrot suspension cells prior to inoculation with the bacteria effectively inhibited attachment of the bacteria to the carrot cells, whereas an identical preparation from strain C58::A205 had no inhibitory effect and did not contain the acidic polysaccharide. Similarly, preincubation of Arabidopsis thaliana root segments with the polysaccharide prevented attachment of strain C58 to that plant. This indicates that the acidic polysaccharide may play a role in the attachment of A. tumefaciens to host soma plant cells.

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Selected References

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