3 years ago

Virulence protein VirD5 of Agrobacterium tumefaciens binds to kinetochores in host cells via an interaction with Spt4 [Microbiology]

Virulence protein VirD5 of Agrobacterium tumefaciens binds to kinetochores in host cells via an interaction with Spt4 [Microbiology]
Xiaorong Zhang, Paul J. J. Hooykaas, G. Paul H. van Heusden

The bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens causes crown gall tumor formation in plants. During infection the bacteria translocate an oncogenic piece of DNA (transferred DNA, T-DNA) into plant cells at the infection site. A number of virulence proteins are cotransported into host cells concomitantly with the T-DNA to effectuate transformation. Using yeast as a model host, we find that one of these proteins, VirD5, localizes to the centromeres/kinetochores in the nucleus of the host cells by its interaction with the conserved protein Spt4. VirD5 promotes chromosomal instability as seen by the high-frequency loss of a minichromosome in yeast. By using both yeast and plant cells with a chromosome that was specifically marked by a lacO repeat, chromosome segregation errors and the appearance of aneuploid cells due to the presence of VirD5 could be visualized in vivo. Thus, VirD5 is a prokaryotic virulence protein that interferes with mitosis.

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