Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Cytokinins are plant hormones which have long been associated with cell division and plastid differentiation. Recently, they have been found to play a central role also in the growth of plant tumors. Certain phytopathogenic bacteria, notably Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Pseudomonas syringae pv. savastanoi, can incite tumors on dicotyledonous plants and such tumors exhibit growth which is characteristic of the presence of excess auxin and cytokinin. Genes specifying cytokinin biosynthesis have now been isolated from both sets of bacteria. The genes encode prenyl transferase responsible for cytokinin biosynthesis which, upon expression in E. coli,cause the production of the active cytokinin, zeatin. Expression of these genes in association with the plant is responsible for at least part of the tumor phenotype, although the molecular mechanisms of infection by these bacteria are apparently quite dissimilar. There is extensive homology between the cytokinin biosynthetic genes from the two sets of bacteria.
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