A case of promiscuity: Agrobacterium's endless hunt for new partners

Benoît Lacroix*, Tzvi Tzfira, Alexander Vainstein, Vitaly Citovsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a phytopathogenic bacterium that induces the 'crown gall' disease in plants by transfer and integration of a segment of its tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid DNA into the genome of numerous plant species that represent most of the higher plant families. Recently, it has been shown that, under laboratory conditions, the host range of Agrobacterium can be extended to non-plant eukaryotic organisms. These include yeast, filamentous fungi, cultivated mushrooms and human cultured cells. In this article, we present Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of non-plant organisms as a source of new protocols for genetic transformation, as a unique tool for genomic studies (insertional mutagenesis or targeted DNA integration) and as a useful model system to study bacterium-host cell interactions. Moreover, better knowledge of the DNA-transfer mechanisms from bacteria to eukaryotic organisms can also help in understanding horizontal gene transfer - a driving force throughout biological evolution.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We apologize to colleagues whose original research has not been cited owing to space limitations. The work in our laboratories is supported by grants from the Chief Scientist of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, BARD and ISF to A.V., by grants from BARD and HFSP to T.T. and by grants from NIH, NSF, USDA, BARD and BSF to V.C.


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