Agrobacterium tumefaciens can genetically transform eukaryotic cells. In many bacteria, pill are required for interbacterial DNA transfer. The formation of pili by Agrobacterium required induction of tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid-encoded virulence genes and growth at low temperature. A genetic analysis demonstrated that virA, virG, virB 1 through virB 11, and virD4 are the only Ti plasmid genes necessary for pilus assembly. The loss and gain of pill in various mutants correlated with the loss and gain of transferred DNA (T-DNA) transfer functions, which is consistent with the view that Agrobactenum pili are required for transfer of DNA to plant cells in a process similar to that of conjugation.
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