Identifying grape genes contributing to Agrobacterium infection process

Crown gall caused by Agrobacterium is one of the most serious grapevine diseases which still cannot be efficiently controlled. The pathogen transform the host plant cells resulting in tumorous growth. The transfer of bacterial DNA (T-DNA) from the bacterium to the host cell nucleus is determined by bacterial virulence genes, while its integration into the plant genome is coded by host genes. During the last decade several contributing host genes which are essential for Agrobacterium tumefaciens-induced transformation have been identified in Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana spp. using insertion mutagenesis, yeast-two hybrid system or virus induced gene silencing. The aim of this work is to identify in and isolate these genes from Vitis genome. Than we design silencing constructs for these genes which will be used to transform the rootstock cultivar Vitis berlandieri x Vitis rupestris 'Richter 110'. Next the susceptibility of regenerated transgenic lines to various strains of Agrobacterium vitis will be tested to obtain information on the role of these genes in grapevine-A. vitis interaction. The results we expect will be important for molecular breeding since they may increase the efficiency grapevine transformation. On the other hand, these new tools may help us in engineering new, crown gall resistant lines.

Tamás Deák, Tünde Kupi, Róbert Oláh, Lóránt Lakatos, Lajos Kemény, György D. Bisztray, Ernő Szegedi (2013): Candidate plant gene homologues in grapevine involved  Agrobacterium transformation. Central European Journal of Biology. 8 (10) 1001-1009.