Protein interactions involved in nuclear import of the Agrobacterium VirE2 protein in vivo and in vitro

Vitaly Citovsky, Anat Kapelnikov, Shachar Olie, Nehama Zakai, Maria R. Rojas, Robert L. Gilbertson, Tzvi Tzfira, Abraham Loyter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Agrobacterium, the only known organism capable of trans-kingdom DNA transfer, genetically transforms plants by transferring a segment of its DNA, T-DNA, into the nucleus of the host cell where it integrates into the plant genome. One of the central events in this genetic transformation process is nuclear import of the T-DNA molecule, which to a large degree is mediated by the bacterial virulence protein VirE2. VirE2 is distinguished by its nuclear targeting, which occurs only in plant but not in animal cells and is facilitated by the cellular VIP1 protein. The molecular mechanism of the VIP1 function is still unclear. Here, we used in vitro assays for nuclear import and quantification of protein-protein interactions to directly demonstrate formation of ternary complexes between VirE2, VIP1, and a component of the cellular nuclear import machinery, karyopherin α. Our results indicate that VIP1 functions as a molecular bridge between VirE2 and karyopherin α, allowing VirE2 to utilize the host cell nuclear import machinery even without being directly recognized by its components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29528-29533
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - 9 Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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