The Use of Ti-Plasmids for the Genetic Engineering of Plants

  • Joachim Schröder
  • Henri De Greve
  • Jean-Pierre Hernalsteens
  • Jan Leemans
  • Marc Van Montagu
  • Léon Otten
  • Gudrun Schröder
  • Lothar Willmitzer
  • Jozef Schell
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series


Crown gall is a neoplastic disease of many dicotyledonous plants and is caused by the soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. A large extrachromosomal plasmid in these bacteria was found to be responsible for its tumor-inducing capacity and was, therefore, called Ti-plasmid [36]. Bacteria-free crown gall cells can be cultured in the absence of phytohormones like auxines and cytokinines, and this hormone-independent growth defines tumorous growth in plants [1]. Sterile tumor tissues have been shown to contain a DNA segment (called T-DNA) which is homologous and colinear with a defined fragment of the Ti-plasmid, and it is covalently linked to plant DNA [4,23,29,33,34,44,46]. The T-DNA has been localized in the nucleus [5,37] and is directly responsible for the hormone-independent growth of the cells. It is also responsible for the synthesis of a number of low molecular weight compounds, called opines, which are not found in normal plant tissues. The opine produced defines crown galls as octopine, nopaline, or agropine type tumors [15](Fig. 1). Opines can be utilized by Agrobacterium tumefaciens selectively as sources for carbon, nitrogen, and energy; thus, the interaction between these bacteria and plants can be seen as a special parasitic relationship which benefits the bacteria [29].


Plant Cell Genetic Engineering Agrobacterium Tumefaciens Crown Gall Crown Gall Tumor 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Schröder
    • 1
  • Henri De Greve
    • 2
  • Jean-Pierre Hernalsteens
    • 2
  • Jan Leemans
    • 2
  • Marc Van Montagu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Léon Otten
    • 1
  • Gudrun Schröder
    • 1
  • Lothar Willmitzer
    • 1
  • Jozef Schell
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für ZüchtungsforschungKöln 30Federal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Laboratorium Genetisch VirologieVrije UniversiteitBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratorium voor GenetikaRijksuniversiteitGentBelgium

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