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Front Plant Sci. 2012 Mar 26;3:52. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00052. eCollection 2012.

Traversing the Cell: Agrobacterium T-DNA's Journey to the Host Genome.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University West Lafayette, IN, USA.

Abstract

The genus Agrobacterium is unique in its ability to conduct interkingdom genetic exchange. Virulent Agrobacterium strains transfer single-strand forms of T-DNA (T-strands) and several Virulence effector proteins through a bacterial type IV secretion system into plant host cells. T-strands must traverse the plant wall and plasma membrane, traffic through the cytoplasm, enter the nucleus, and ultimately target host chromatin for stable integration. Because any DNA sequence placed between T-DNA "borders" can be transferred to plants and integrated into the plant genome, the transfer and intracellular trafficking processes must be mediated by bacterial and host proteins that form complexes with T-strands. This review summarizes current knowledge of proteins that interact with T-strands in the plant cell, and discusses several models of T-complex (T-strand and associated proteins) trafficking. A detailed understanding of how these macromolecular complexes enter the host cell and traverse the plant cytoplasm will require development of novel technologies to follow molecules from their bacterial site of synthesis into the plant cell, and how these transferred molecules interact with host proteins and sub-cellular structures within the host cytoplasm and nucleus.

KEYWORDS:

Agrobacterium; T-DNA; cytoplasmic trafficking; nuclear targeting; virulence effector proteins

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