SUMMARY In a unique case of trans‐kingdom DNA transfer, Agrobacterium genetically transforms plants by transferring its DNA segment into the host cell nucleus and integrating it into the plant genome. One of the central players in this process is the bacterial virulence protein, VirE2, which binds the transported DNA molecule and facilitates its nuclear import. Nuclear import of VirE2 proteins encoded by two major Agrobacterium strains, nopaline and octopine, has been hypothesized to occur by different mechanisms, i.e. the nopaline VirE2 was imported only into the nuclei of plant cells while the octopine VirE2 also accumulated in the nuclei of animal cells. Here, this notion was tested by a systematic comparison of nuclear import of nopaline‐ and octopine‐specific VirE2 in dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous plants and in living mammalian and yeast cells. These experiments showed that nuclear import of both nopaline and octopine VirE2 proteins is plant‐specific, occurring in plant but not in non‐plant systems.
Molecular Plant Pathology – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2001
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