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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Initiation of Agrobacterium tumefaciens T-DNA processing. Purified proteins VirD1 and VirD2 catalyze site- and strand-specific cleavage of superhelical T-border DNA in vitro.

T-DNA processing during agroinfection of plants is initiated by site- and strand-specific incision at the T-DNA border sequences of the Ti plasmid. Two proteins are required for this reaction: VirD2 (49.6 kDa), catalyzing a site-specific cleaving-joining reaction on single-stranded DNA in vitro (Pansegrau, W., Schoumacher, F., Hohn, B., and Lanka, E. (1993) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 90, 11538-11542), and VirD1 (16.1 kDa), an accessory protein required for VirD2-mediated specific cleavage of double-stranded DNA. Following efficient overproduction, VirD1 was isolated in active form from inclusion bodies and purified to near homogeneity. The protein was applied together with purified VirD2 protein for specific cleavage of double-stranded T-DNA border sequences in vitro. The reaction proceeds on negative superhelical DNA and requires Mg2+ ions. Relaxed DNA is not cleaved. The 5' terminus of the broken DNA strand is covalently associated with protein, most probably VirD2, and the cleavage site is located at the same position that is found in vivo, indicating that the in vitro reaction mimics the one that takes place in induced agrobacteria. Relaxation of plasmid DNA occurs only upon addition of protein denaturants, suggesting that the DNA in the VirD1/VirD2 complex is topologically constrained by strong protein-DNA interactions. The characteristics of the VirD1/VirD2-mediated cleavage reaction strongly resemble those observed with relaxosomes of IncP plasmids involved in initiation of transfer DNA replication during bacterial conjugation.[1]


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