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J Bacteriol. 2004 May;186(10):3065-77.

Agrobacterium rhizogenes GALLS protein substitutes for Agrobacterium tumefaciens single-stranded DNA-binding protein VirE2.

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Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA.


Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Agrobacterium rhizogenes transfer plasmid-encoded genes and virulence (Vir) proteins into plant cells. The transferred DNA (T-DNA) is stably inherited and expressed in plant cells, causing crown gall or hairy root disease. DNA transfer from A. tumefaciens into plant cells resembles plasmid conjugation; single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) is exported from the bacteria via a type IV secretion system comprised of VirB1 through VirB11 and VirD4. Bacteria also secrete certain Vir proteins into plant cells via this pore. One of these, VirE2, is an ssDNA-binding protein crucial for efficient T-DNA transfer and integration. VirE2 binds incoming ssT-DNA and helps target it into the nucleus. Some strains of A. rhizogenes lack VirE2, but they still transfer T-DNA efficiently. We isolated a novel gene from A. rhizogenes that restored pathogenicity to virE2 mutant A. tumefaciens. The GALLS gene was essential for pathogenicity of A. rhizogenes. Unlike VirE2, GALLS contains a nucleoside triphosphate binding motif similar to one in TraA, a strand transferase conjugation protein. Despite their lack of similarity, GALLS substituted for VirE2.

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