Construction of Disarmed Ti Plasmids Transferable between Escherichia coli and Agrobacterium Species
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Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation has been used widely, but there are plants that are recalcitrant to this type of transformation. This transformation method uses bacterial strains harboring a modified tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid that lacks the transfer DNA (T-DNA) region (disarmed Ti plasmid). It is desirable to develop strains that can broaden the host range. A large number of Agrobacterium strains have not been tested yet to determine whether they can be used in transformation. In order to improve the disarming method and to obtain strains disarmed and ready for the plant transformation test, we developed a simple scheme to make certain Ti plasmids disarmed and simultaneously maintainable in Escherichia coli and mobilizable between E. coli and Agrobacterium. To establish the scheme in nopaline-type Ti plasmids, a neighboring segment to the left of the left border sequence, a neighboring segment to the right of the right border sequence of pTi-SAKURA, a cassette harboring the pSC101 replication gene between these two segments, the broad-host-range IncP-type oriT, and the gentamicin resistance gene were inserted into a suicide-type sacB-containing vector. Replacement of T-DNA with the cassette in pTiC58 and pTi-SAKURA occurred at a high frequency and with high accuracy when the tool plasmid was used. We confirmed that there was stable maintenance of the modified Ti plasmids in E. coli strain S17-1 lambda pir and conjugal transfer from E. coli to Ti-less Agrobacterium strains and that the reconstituted Agrobacterium strains were competent to transfer DNA into plant cells. As the modified plasmid delivery system was simple and efficient, conversion of strains to the disarmed type was easy and should be applicable in studies to screen for useful strains.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology