Temperature affects the T-DNA transfer machinery of Agrobacterium tumefaciens

Karla Jean Fullner, Eugene W. Nester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Early studies on Agrobacterium tumefaciens showed that development of tumors on plants following infection by A. tumefaciens was optimal at temperatures around 22°C and did not occur at temperatures above 29°C. To assess whether this inability to induce tumors is due to a defect in the T- DNA transfer machinery, mobilization of an incompatibility group Q (IncQ) plasmid by the T-DNA transfer machinery of A. tumefaciens was tested at various temperatures. Optimal transfer occurred when matings were performed at 19°C, and transfer was not seen when matings were incubated above 28°C. Transfer of the IncQ plasmid was dependent upon induction of the virB and virD operons by acetosyringone but was not dependent upon induction of the tra genes by octopine. However, alterations in the level of vir gene induction could not account for the decrease in transfer with increasing temperature. A. tumefaciens did successfully mobilize IncQ plasmids at higher temperatures when alternative transfer machineries were provided. Thus, the defect in transfer at high temperature is apparently in the T-DNA transfer machinery itself. As these data correlate with earlier tumorigenesis studies, we propose that tumor suppression at higher temperatures results from a T- DNA transfer machinery which does not function properly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1498-1504
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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