Agrobacterium: Natural genetic engineer

Authors: Rupal Dhoot, Meenakshi Dhoot and Dhirendra Kumar
Department of Plant Breeding & Genetics, B. A. College of Agriculture, Anand Agricultural University, Anand, India
Department of Plant Breeding & Genetics, Rajasthan College of Agriculture, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture & technology, Udaipur, India.
Department of Plant Breeding & Genetics, N. M. College of Agriculture, Navsari Agricultural University, Navsari, India

Agrobacterium is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria established by H. J. Conn that uses horizontal gene transfer to cause tumors in plants. Agrobacterium tumefaciens is the most commonly studied species in this genus. Agrobacterium is well known for its ability to transfer DNA between itself and plants, and for this reason it has become an important tool for genetic engineering. A. tumefaciens causes crown-gall disease in plants. The disease is characterised by a tumour-like growth or gall on the infected plant, often at the junction between the root and the shoot. Tumors are incited by the conjugative transfer of a DNA segment (T-DNA) from the bacterial tumour-inducing (Ti) plasmid. The closely related species, A. rhizogenes, induces root tumors, and carries the distinct Ri (root-inducing) plasmid. Overall, Agrobacterium can transfer T-DNA to a broad group of plants.Yet, individual Agrobacterium strains have a limited host range.

• The molecular basis for the strain-specific host range is unknown.

• Many monocot plants can be transformed (now), although they do not form crown gall tumors.

• Under lab conditions, T-DNA can be transferred to yeast, other fungi, and even animal and human cells.

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About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently pursuing Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding from Anand Agricultural University.