Caspase-resistant VirD2 protein provides enhanced gene delivery and expression in plants

Plant Cell Rep. 2007 Aug;26(8):1215-9. doi: 10.1007/s00299-007-0335-6. Epub 2007 Mar 17.


Agrobacterium tumefaciens VirD2 protein is one of the key elements of Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation, a process of transfer of T-DNA sequence from the Agrobacterium tumour inducing plasmid into the nucleus of infected plant cells and its integration into the host genome. The VirD2 protein has been shown to be a substrate for a plant caspase-like protease activity (PCLP) in tobacco. We demonstrate here that mutagenesis of the VirD2 protein to prevent cleavage by PCLP increases the efficiency of reporter gene transfer and expression. These results indicate that PCLP cleavage of the Agrobacterium VirD2 protein acts to limit the effectiveness of T-DNA transfer and is a novel resistance mechanism that plants utilise to combat Agrobacterium infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gene Expression*
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Caspases