New insights into an old story: Agrobacterium-induced tumour formation in plants by plant transformation

Andrea Pitzschke, Heribert Hirt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


Agrobacterium tumefaciens causes tumour formation in plants. Plant signals induce in the bacteria the expression of a range of virulence (Vir) proteins and the formation of a type IV secretion system (T4SS). On attachment to plant cells, a transfer DNA (T-DNA) and Vir proteins are imported into the host cells through the bacterial T4SS. Through interaction with a number of host proteins, the Vir proteins suppress the host innate immune system and support the transfer, nuclear targeting, and integration of T-DNA into host cell chromosomes. Owing to extensive genetic analyses, the bacterial side of the plant-Agrobacterium interaction is well understood. However, progress on the plant side has only been achieved recently, revealing a highly complex molecular choreography under the direction of the Vir proteins that impinge on multiple processes including transport, transcription, and chromosome status of their host cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1032
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Agrobacterium
  • Plant innate immunity
  • Plant tumour formation
  • T-DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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