Silencing the Agrobacterium tumefaciens oncogenes Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/bc386m79f

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  • Crown gall disease is an agricultural problem caused by the soil-borne bacterium, Agrobacterium tumefaciens. A. tumefaciens oncogenes cause transformed plant cells to overproduce the hormones, auxin and cytokinin. High hormone levels cause unorganized plant cell growth resulting in a gall. Control of crown gall disease is difficult because after plant cell transformation has occurred, the bacterium is no longer required for the disease to progress. Apple trees engineered to express double-stranded RNA of two A. tumefaciens oncogenes, ipt and iaaM, silenced the expression of the wild-type oncogenes and prevented crown gall disease. Only the iaaM oncogene was targeted for posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS) as measured by biological assays and by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (q-RTPCR) on transgenic tissue. However, if the translation initiation sequence of the iaaM construction was eliminated, gall formation was not prevented, indicating that translatable RNA initiates silencing whereas untranslatable RNA does not. Other data indicate that the Arabidopsis thaliana micro-RNA pathway gene is involved in A. tumefaciens-mediated tumorigenesis. A. thaliana plants with a mutation in HEN1, a gene required for micro-RNA maturation, demonstrated a tenfold reduction in tumorigenesis upon A. tumefaciens infection compared to wild-type. The same plant line showed no difference in T-DNA transfer and nuclear uptake.
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