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

A T-DNA gene required for agropine biosynthesis by transformed plants is functionally and evolutionarily related to a Ti plasmid gene required for catabolism of agropine by Agrobacterium strains.

The mechanisms that ensure that Ti plasmid T-DNA genes encoding proteins involved in the biosynthesis of opines in crown gall tumors are always matched by Ti plasmid genes conferring the ability to catabolize that set of opines on the inducing Agrobacterium strains are unknown. The pathway for the biosynthesis of the opine agropine is thought to require an enzyme, mannopine cyclase, coded for by the ags gene located in the T(R) region of octopine-type Ti plasmids. Extracts prepared from agropine-type tumors contained an activity that cyclized mannopine to agropine. Tumor cells containing a T region in which ags was mutated lacked this activity and did not contain agropine. Expression of ags from the lac promoter conferred mannopine-lactonizing activity on Escherichia coli. Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains harboring an octopine-type Ti plasmid exhibit a similar activity which is not coded for by ags. Analysis of the DNA sequence of the gene encoding this activity, called agcA, showed it to be about 60% identical to T-DNA ags genes. Relatedness decreased abruptly in the 5' and 3' untranslated regions of the genes. ags is preceded by a promoter that functions only in the plant. Expression analysis showed that agcA also is preceded by its own promoter, which is active in the bacterium. Translation of agcA yielded a protein of about 45 kDa, consistent with the size predicted from the DNA sequence. Antibodies raised against the agcA product cross-reacted with the anabolic enzyme. These results indicate that the agropine system arose by a duplication of a progenitor gene, one copy of which became associated with the T-DNA and the other copy of which remained associated with the bacterium.[1]


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