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Mol Microbiol. 1993 May;8(5):915-26.

Formation of a putative relaxation intermediate during T-DNA processing directed by the Agrobacterium tumefaciens VirD1,D2 endonuclease.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.


During the initial stages of crown gall tumorigenesis, the T-DNA region of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti-plasmid is processed, resulting in the production of T-DNA molecules that are subsequently transferred to the plant cell. Processing of the T-DNA in the bacterium involves the nicking of T-DNA border sequences by an endonuclease encoded by the virD locus, and the subsequent tight (possibly covalent) association of the VirD2 protein with the 5' end of the processed single-stranded or double-stranded T-DNA molecule. To investigate the interaction of the VirD1,D2 endonuclease with a right T-DNA border, a set of plasmids containing both the border and virD sequences on the same high-copy-number replicon has been constructed and introduced into Escherichia coli. In this model system a tight nucleoprotein complex is formed between the relaxed double-stranded substrate plasmid and the VirD2 protein. This putative T-DNA processing complex may be analogous to the covalent relaxation complex formed between the pilot protein and plasmid DNA during bacterial conjugation. VirD2 attachment to the relaxed substrate plasmid was resistant to denaturing agents but sensitive to S1 nuclease digestion, indicating a single-stranded region near the site of protein attachment. We speculate that this structure may be an intermediate formed prior to T-strand unwinding from the substrate plasmid in a host bacterium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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