<i>Agrobacterium vitis</i> strains lack tumorigenic ability on <i>in vitro</i> grown grapevine stem segments


  • E. Szegedi
  • T. Deak
  • I. Forgács
  • A. Zok
  • R. Olah




crown gall, opines, Ti plasmids, vir-region, Vitis


Grapevine stem segments were cocultivated with three different Agrobacterium tumefaciens and three different A. vitis strains. A. tumefaciens strains induced tumors at variable frequencies, while A. vitis-infected stem segments never formed crown galls. The tumorous nature of tissues grown on hormone free medium was confirmed by opine assays. Bioinformatic and PCR analysis of the virulence regions of various A. tumefaciens and A. vitis Ti plasmids showed that virH2 and virK genes are common in A. tumefaciens but they are lacking from A. vitis. Thus virH2 and virK genes may be essential for grapevine stem segment transformation, but expression of certain T-DNA genes of A. vitis may also prevent the growth of transformed cells. Our data indicate that the tumorigenic ability of A. vitis is different on intact plant and on their explants, and that the specific host association of A. vitis on grapevine is probably determined by physiological and biochemical factors (e. g., better colonizing ability) rather than by its increased tumorigenic ability. Therefore it is not reasonable to develop „helper” plasmids for grapevine transformation from A. vitis pTis, unless their avirulence on in vitro explants is determined by T-DNA gene(s). Due to the inability of A. vitis to induce tumors on grapevine stem segments, the use of in vitro explant assays cannot be reliably used to select A. vitis resistant grapevine genotypes or transgenic lines.