Int. J. Dev. Biol. 57: 467 - 481 (2013)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.130199bl
© UPV/EHU Press

The roles of bacterial and host plant factors in Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation

Benoît Lacroix* and Vitaly Citovsky

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY, USA

ABSTRACT The genetic transformation of plants mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens represents an essential tool for both fundamental and applied research in plant biology. For a successful infection, culminating in the integration of its transferred DNA (T-DNA) into the host genome, Agrobacterium relies on multiple interactions with host-plant factors. Extensive studies have unraveled many of such interactions at all major steps of the infection process: activation of the bacterial virulence genes, cell-cell contact and macromolecular translocation from Agrobacterium to host cell cytoplasm, intracellular transit of T-DNA and associated proteins (T-complex) to the host cell nucleus, disassembly of the T-complex, T-DNA integration, and expression of the transferred genes. During all these processes, Agrobacterium has evolved to control and even utilize several pathways of host-plant defense response. Studies of these Agrobacterium-host interactions substantially enhance our understanding of many fundamental cellular biological processes and allow improvements in the use of Agrobacterium as a gene transfer tool for biotechnology.

Keywords:

Agrobacterium, genetic transformation, macromolecular transport, T-DNA expression

*Corresponding author e-mail: benoit.lacroix@stonybrook.edu