Identifying plant genes involved in Agrobacterium infection of grapevine
Crown gall caused by agrobacteria is one of the most serious grapevine diseases which still cannot be efficiently controlled. The pathogen genetically transforms host plant cells resulting in tumour growth. Transfer of a bacterial DNA segment (the T-DNA) from the bacterium to the host cell nucleus is mainly guided by bacterial virulence genes, while its integration into the host plant genome is determined by host genes. The ultimate goal of our work was to achieve Agrobacterium-resistance in grapevine by silencing host plant genes contributing to the transformation process. The candidate gene approach was applied to identify genes of interest (GOIs) in grapevine. The selection of GOIs with existing biological evidence for their involvement in the transformation process in model organisms was followed by an in-depth bioinformatic analysis of homologous gene families in grapevine. Selected grape gene families were the subject of gene expression analysis. Based on our results, grape homologues of the GTPase AtRab8, the Vir-interacting protein AtVIP1 and the histone protein AtH2A can be described as responsive to A. tumefaciens inoculation in grapevine. Hairpin-based RNAi silencing constructs selective for these genes have been established and their effect on crown gall tumour formation will be tested on transgenic grapevines.
Deák, T., Kupi, T., Szegedi, E., Bisztray, Gy.D. and Oláh, R. (2017). Identifying plant genes involved in Agrobacterium infection of grapevine. Acta Hortic. 1157, 315-320
Vitis vinifera, crown gall, host genes, semi-quantitative PCR