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Sci. Signal., 19 November 2013
Vol. 6, Issue 302, p. ra100
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004518]


Cytokinins Secreted by Agrobacterium Promote Transformation by Repressing a Plant Myb Transcription Factor

Nagesh Sardesai1*, Lan-Ying Lee1, Huabang Chen1{dagger}, HoChul Yi1{ddagger}, Gayla R. Olbricht2§, Alexandra Stirnberg1, Jacob Jeffries1, Kia Xiong1, R. W. Doerge2, and Stanton B. Gelvin1

1 Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
2 Department of Statistics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.

* Present address: Dow AgroSciences, 9330 Zionsville Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268, USA.

{dagger} Present address: State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.

{ddagger} Present address: Syngenta Biotechnology, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.

§ Present address: Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO 65409, USA.

Abstract: Agrobacterium-mediated transformation is the most widely used technique for generating transgenic plants. However, many crops remain recalcitrant. We found that an Arabidopsis myb family transcription factor (MTF1) inhibited plant transformation susceptibility. Mutating MTF1 increased attachment of several Agrobacterium strains to roots and increased both stable and transient transformation in both susceptible and transformation-resistant Arabidopsis ecotypes. Cytokinins from Agrobacterium tumefaciens decreased the expression of MTF1 through activation of the cytokinin response regulator ARR3. Mutating AHK3 and AHK4, genes that encode cytokinin-responsive kinases, increased the expression of MTF1 and impaired plant transformation. Mutant mtf1 plants also had increased expression of AT14A, which encodes a putative transmembrane receptor for cell adhesion molecules. Plants overexpressing AT14A exhibited increased susceptibility to transformation, whereas at14a mutant plants exhibited decreased attachment of bacteria to roots and decreased transformation, suggesting that AT14A may serve as an anchor point for Agrobacteria. Thus, by promoting bacterial attachment and transformation of resistant plants and increasing such processes in susceptible plants, treating roots with cytokinins may help engineer crops with improved features or yield.

¶ Corresponding author. E-mail: gelvin{at}

Citation: N. Sardesai, L.-Y. Lee, H. Chen, H. Yi, G. R. Olbricht, A. Stirnberg, J. Jeffries, K. Xiong, R. W. Doerge, S. B. Gelvin, Cytokinins Secreted by Agrobacterium Promote Transformation by Repressing a Plant Myb Transcription Factor. Sci. Signal. 6, ra100 (2013).

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Science Signaling Podcast: 19 November 2013.
S. B. Gelvin and A. M. VanHook (2013)
Science Signaling 6, pc31
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