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Review
, 145 (5-6), 461-73

Host Recognition by the VirA, VirG Two-Component Regulatory Proteins of Agrobacterium Tumefaciens

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Review

Host Recognition by the VirA, VirG Two-Component Regulatory Proteins of Agrobacterium Tumefaciens

S C Winans et al. Res Microbiol.

Abstract

Agrobacterium tumefaciens contains about 25 vir genes localized on a 200-kb tumour-inducing (Ti) plasmid that direct a conjugation-like transfer of tumorigenic DNA from the bacterium to the nuclei of infected plant cells. These genes are strongly and coordinately induced during infection in response to three different classes of stimuli which are thought to be key chemical features of a typical wound site. These stimuli are (i) guaiacol and syringol derivatives such as acetosyringone, (ii) sugars such as glucose and glucuronic acid, and (iii) acidic pH. The sensing of these compounds is carried out by the VirA, VirG and ChvE proteins. VirA is a four-domain histidine protein kinase, while VirG is a transcriptional activator which is activated by VirA-mediated phosphorylation. ChvE is a chromosomally encoded periplasmic sugar binding protein which is required for sensing sugars but dispensable for sensing the other two stimuli. Here we will review the nature of these chemical stimuli, the structure and function of the three regulatory proteins, their similarity to sensors found in human and animal pathogens, the factors influencing their pool size, and their role in the host range of different strains of A. tumefaciens.

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