Perception of the bacterial PAMP EF-Tu by the receptor EFR restricts Agrobacterium-mediated transformation

Cell. 2006 May 19;125(4):749-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.03.037.


Higher eukaryotes sense microbes through the perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Arabidopsis plants detect a variety of PAMPs including conserved domains of bacterial flagellin and of bacterial EF-Tu. Here, we show that flagellin and EF-Tu activate a common set of signaling events and defense responses but without clear synergistic effects. Treatment with either PAMP results in increased binding sites for both PAMPs. We used this finding in a targeted reverse-genetic approach to identify a receptor kinase essential for EF-Tu perception, which we called EFR. Nicotiana benthamiana, a plant unable to perceive EF-Tu, acquires EF-Tu binding sites and responsiveness upon transient expression of EFR. Arabidopsis efr mutants show enhanced susceptibility to the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, as revealed by a higher efficiency of T-DNA transformation. These results demonstrate that EFR is the EF-Tu receptor and that plant defense responses induced by PAMPs such as EF-Tu reduce transformation by Agrobacterium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis* / cytology
  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / microbiology
  • Arabidopsis* / physiology
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • Flagellin / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Peptide Elongation Factor Tu / genetics
  • Peptide Elongation Factor Tu / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Tobacco / cytology
  • Tobacco / microbiology
  • Tobacco / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Flagellin
  • Protein Kinases
  • Peptide Elongation Factor Tu