The plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens has developed a unique mechanism to transport proteins and DNA (T-DNA) into the plant host cell. The T-DNA is then integrated into the genome of the host cell with the help of the proteins from Agrobacterium that are carried along and by utilizing the plant's own systems. The expression of the transferred genes causes excessive cell division. The plant cells proliferate into tumor like structures and produce metabolites that can exclusively be metabolized by the agrobacteria. The agrobacteria have thus created their own ecological niche. Modern plant biotechnology uses this mechanism of naturally occurring gene transfer for the targeted transfer of agronomically interesting traits in crop plants. Even though the cultivation of transgenic crops is not permitted in Germany, the Agrobacterium mediated transformation is still important in research, e.g. for functional gene analysis.
We are interested in establishing the methodology of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation in recalcitrant plants. As a well transformable model plant, we use canola to study integration patterns and integration sites of T-DNA.