Import of DNA into mammalian nuclei by proteins originating from a plant pathogenic bacterium.
Import of DNA into mammalian nuclei is generally inefficient. Therefore, one of the current challenges in human gene therapy is the development of efficient DNA delivery systems. Here we tested whether bacterial proteins could be used to target DNA to mammalian cells. Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a plant pathogen, efficiently transfers DNA as a nucleoprotein complex to plant cells. Agrobacterium-mediated T-DNA transfer to plant cells is the only known example for interkingdom DNA transfer and is widely used for plant transformation. Agrobacterium virulence proteins VirD2 and VirE2 perform important functions in this process. We reconstituted complexes consisting of the bacterial virulence proteins VirD2, VirE2, and single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) in vitro. These complexes were tested for import into HeLa cell nuclei. Import of ssDNA required both VirD2 and VirE2 proteins. A VirD2 mutant lacking its C-terminal nuclear localization signal was deficient in import of the ssDNA-protein complexes into nuclei. Import of VirD2-ssDNA-VirE2 complexes was fast and efficient, and was shown to depended on importin alpha, Ran, and an energy source. We report here that the bacterium-derived and plant-adapted protein-DNA complex, made in vitro, can be efficiently imported into mammalian nuclei following the classical importin-dependent nuclear import pathway. This demonstrates the potential of our approach to enhance gene transfer to animal cells. (+info)
Stable expression of human beta1,4-galactosyltransferase in plant cells modifies N-linked glycosylation patterns.
beta1,4-Galactosyltransferase (UDP galactose: beta-N-acetylglucosaminide: beta1,4-galactosyltransferase; EC 2.4.1. 22) catalyzes the transfer of galactose from UDP-Gal to N-acetylglucosamine in the penultimate stages of the terminal glycosylation of N-linked complex oligosaccharides in mammalian cells. Tobacco BY2 cells lack this Golgi enzyme. To determine to what extent the production of a mammalian glycosyltransferase can alter the glycosylation pathway of plant cells, tobacco BY2 suspension-cultured cells were stably transformed with the full-length human galactosyltransferase gene placed under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. The expression was confirmed by assaying enzymatic activity as well as by Southern and Western blotting. The transformant with the highest level of enzymatic activity has glycans with galactose residues at the terminal nonreducing ends, indicating the successful modification of the plant cell N-glycosylation pathway. Analysis of the oligosaccharide structures shows that the galactosylated N-glycans account for 47.3% of the total sugar chains. In addition, the absence of the dominant xylosidated- and fucosylated-type sugar chains confirms that the transformed cells can be used to produce glycoproteins without the highly immunogenic glycans typically found in plants. These results demonstrate the synthesis in plants of N-linked glycans with modified and defined sugar chain structures similar to mammalian glycoproteins. (+info)
Complementation of plant mutants with large genomic DNA fragments by a transformation-competent artificial chromosome vector accelerates positional cloning.
To accelerate gene isolation from plants by positional cloning, vector systems suitable for both chromosome walking and genetic complementation are highly desirable. Therefore, we developed a transformation-competent artificial chromosome (TAC) vector, pYLTAC7, that can accept and maintain large genomic DNA fragments stably in both Escherichia coli and Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Furthermore, it has the cis sequences required for Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer into plants. We cloned large genomic DNA fragments of Arabidopsis thaliana into the vector and showed that most of the DNA fragments were maintained stably. Several TAC clones carrying 40- to 80-kb genomic DNA fragments were transferred back into Arabidopsis with high efficiency and shown to be inherited faithfully among the progeny. Furthermore, we demonstrated the practical utility of this vector system for positional cloning in Arabidopsis. A TAC contig was constructed in the region of the SGR1 locus, and individual clones with ca. 80-kb inserts were tested for their ability to complement the gravitropic defects of a homozygous mutant line. Successful complementation enabled the physical location of SGR1 to be delimited with high precision and confidence. (+info)
Conjugal transfer but not quorum-dependent tra gene induction of pTiC58 requires a solid surface.
Donors of Agrobacterium tumefaciens harboring a transfer-constitutive derivative of the nopaline-type Ti plasmid pTiC58 transferred this element at frequencies 3 to 4 orders of magnitude higher in matings conducted on solid surfaces than in those conducted in liquid medium. However, as measured with a lacZ reporter fusion, the tra genes of the wild-type Ti plasmid were inducible by opines to indistinguishable levels on solid and in liquid medium. Donors induced in liquid transferred the Ti plasmid at high frequency when mated with recipients on solid medium. We conclude that while formation of stable mating pairs and subsequent transfer of the Ti plasmid is dependent on a solid stratum, the regulatory system can activate tra gene expression to equivalent levels in liquid and on solid surfaces. (+info)
Dimerization of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens VirB4 ATPase and the effect of ATP-binding cassette mutations on the assembly and function of the T-DNA transporter.
The Agrobacterium tumefaciens VirB4 ATPase functions with other VirB proteins to export T-DNA to susceptible plant cells and other DNA substrates to a variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Previous studies have demonstrated that VirB4 mutants with defects in the Walker A nucleotide-binding motif are non-functional and exert a dominant negative phenotype when synthesized in wild-type cells. This study characterized the oligomeric structure of VirB4 and examined the effects of Walker A sequence mutations on complex formation and transporter activity. VirB4 directed dimer formation when fused to the amino-terminal portion of cI repressor protein, as shown by immunity of Escherichia coli cells to lambda phage infection. VirB4 also dimerized in Agrobacterium tumefaciens, as demonstrated by the recovery of a detergent-resistant complex of native protein and a functional, histidine-tagged derivative by precipitation with anti-His6 antibodies and by Co2+ affinity chromatography. Walker A sequence mutants directed repressor dimerization in E. coli and interacted with His-VirB4 in A. tumefaciens, indicating that ATP binding is not required for self-association. A dimerization domain was localized to a proposed N-terminal membrane-spanning region of VirB4, as shown by the dominance of an allele coding for the N-terminal 312 residues and phage immunity of host cells expressing cI repressor fusions to alleles for the first 237 or 312 residues. A recent study reported that the synthesis of a subset of VirB proteins, including VirB4, in agrobacterial recipients has a pronounced stimulatory effect on the virB-dependent conjugal transfer of plasmid RSF1010 by agrobacterial donors. VirB4'312 suppressed the stimulatory effect of VirB proteins for DNA uptake when synthesized in recipient cells. In striking contrast, Walker A sequence mutants contributed to the stimulatory effect of VirB proteins to the same extent as native VirB4. These findings indicate that the oligomeric structure of VirB4, but not its capacity to bind ATP, is important for the assembly of VirB proteins as a DNA uptake system. The results of these studies support a model in which VirB4 dimers or homomultimers contribute structural information for the assembly of a transenvelope channel competent for bidirectional DNA transfer, whereas an ATP-dependent activity is required for configuring this channel as a dedicated export machine. (+info)
Mutagenesis of the Agrobacterium VirE2 single-stranded DNA-binding protein identifies regions required for self-association and interaction with VirE1 and a permissive site for hybrid protein construction.
The VirE2 single-stranded DNA-binding protein (SSB) of Agrobacterium tumefaciens is required for delivery of T-DNA to the nuclei of susceptible plant cells. By yeast two-hybrid and immunoprecipitation analyses, VirE2 was shown to self-associate and to interact with VirE1. VirE2 mutants with small deletions or insertions of a 31-residue oligopeptide (i31) at the N or C terminus or with an i31 peptide insertion at Leu236 retained the capacity to form homomultimers. By contrast, VirE2 mutants with modifications outside a central region located between residues 320 and 390 retained the capacity to interact with VirE1. These findings suggest the tertiary structure of VirE2 is important for homomultimer formation whereas a central domain mediates formation of a complex with VirE1. The capacity of VirE2 mutants to interact with full-length VirE2 in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae correlated with the abundance of the mutant proteins in A. tumefaciens, suggesting that VirE2 is stabilized by homomultimerization in the bacterium. We further characterized the promoter and N- and C-terminal sequence requirements for synthesis of functional VirE2. A PvirB::virE2 construct yielded functional VirE2 protein as defined by complementation of a virE2 null mutation. By contrast, PvirE or Plac promoter constructs yielded functional VirE2 only if virE1 was coexpressed with virE2. Deletion of 10 or 9 residues from the N or C terminus of VirE2, respectively, or addition of heterologous peptides or proteins to either terminus resulted in a loss of protein function. However, an i31 peptide insertion at Tyr39 had no effect on protein function as defined by the capacity of the mutant protein to (i) interact with native VirE2, (ii) interact with VirE1, (iii) accumulate at abundant levels in A. tumefaciens, and (iv) restore wild-type virulence to a virE2 null mutant. We propose that Tyr39 of VirE2 corresponds to a permissive site for insertion of heterologous peptides or proteins of interest for delivery across kingdom boundaries. (+info)
Agrobacterium tumefaciens possesses a fourth flagelin gene located in a large gene cluster concerned with flagellar structure, assembly and motility.
The authors have identified a fourth flagellin gene in a 21850 bp region of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58C1 chromosome containing at least 20 genes concerned with flagellar structure, assembly and function. Three flagellin genes, flaA, flaB and flaC, orientated rightward, are positioned in a tandem array at the right end, with the fourth, substantially larger gene, flaD, in the opposite orientation, at the left end. Between these lie four apparent operons, two transcribed in each direction (motA, flhB leftward; flgF, flgB rightward) from a divergent position approx 7.5 kb from the left end. This unifies the previously published motA, flgB and flaABC sequences into a single region, also containing the homologues of flhB, flgF and fliI. Site-specific mutagenesis of fliI results in a non-flagellate phenotype, while a Tn5-induced flhB mutant possesses abnormal flagella. Mutagenesis and protein profiling demonstrate that all four flagellins contribute to flagellar structure: FlaA is the major protein, FlaB and FlaC are present in lesser amounts, and FlaD is a minor component. FlaA has anomolous electrophoretic mobility, possibly due to glycosylation. (+info)
Transcriptional activation of Agrobacterium tumefaciens virulence gene promoters in Escherichia coli requires the A. tumefaciens RpoA gene, encoding the alpha subunit of RNA polymerase.
The two-component regulatory system, composed of virA and virG, is indispensable for transcription of virulence genes within Agrobacterium tumefaciens. However, virA and virG are insufficient to activate transcription from virulence gene promoters within Escherichia coli cells, indicating a requirement for additional A. tumefaciens genes. In a search for these additional genes, we have identified the rpoA gene, encoding the alpha subunit of RNA polymerase (RNAP), which confers significant expression of a virB promoter (virBp)::lacZ fusion in E. coli in the presence of an active transcriptional regulator virG gene. We conducted in vitro transcription assays using either reconstituted E. coli RNAP or hybrid RNAP in which the alpha subunit was derived from A. tumefaciens. The two forms of RNAP were equally efficient in transcription from a sigma(70)-dependent E. coli galP1 promoter; however, only the hybrid RNAP was able to transcribe virBp in a virG-dependent manner. In addition, we provide evidence that the alpha subunit from A. tumefaciens, but not from E. coli, is able to interact with the VirG protein. These data suggest that transcription of virulence genes requires specific interaction between VirG and the alpha subunit of A. tumefaciens and that the alpha subunit from E. coli is unable to effectively interact with the VirG protein. This work provides the basis for future studies designed to examine vir gene expression as well as the T-DNA transfer process in E. coli. (+info)