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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2000 Dec;3(6):643-8.

The role of the T-pilus in horizontal gene transfer and tumorigenesis.

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Davis Crown Gall Group, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The T-pilus is a flexuous filamentous appendage that is essential for Agrobacterium tumefaciens virulence. T-pilus subunits are derived from a VirB2-processing reaction that generates cyclized polypeptide subunits. The T-pilus filament has a diameter of 10 nm and contains a lumen approximately 2 nm in diameter. Biogenesis of the T-pilus requires all 11 VirB proteins, but not the VirD4 protein, which is used in conjugal plasmid transfer. VirB4 and VirB11 are two ATPases that may form homohexameric rings within the transport apparatus, which is composed of VirB6-10 proteins.

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