Agrobacterium species transfer DNA (T−DNA) to plant cells where it may integrate into plant chromosomes. The process of integration is thought to involve invasion and ligation of T-DNA, or its copying, into nicks or breaks in the host genome. Integrated T−DNA often contains, at its junctions with plant DNA, deletions of T−DNA or plant DNA, filler DNA, and/or microhomology between T-DNA and plant DNA pre-integration sites. T−DNA integration is also often associated with major plant genome rearrangements, including inversions and translocations. These characteristics are similar to those often found after repair of DNA breaks, and thus DNA repair mechanisms have frequently been invoked to explain the mechanism of T−DNA integration. However, the involvement of specific plant DNA repair proteins and Agrobacterium proteins in integration remains controversial, with numerous contradictory results reported in the literature. In this review I discuss this literature and comment on many of these studies. I conclude that either multiple known DNA repair pathways can be used for integration, or that some yet unknown pathway must exist to facilitate T−DNA integration into the plant genome.


This article is published under a CC-BY license.

Gelvin, S.B. Plant DNA Repair and Agrobacterium T−DNA Integration. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 8458. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22168458


Agrobacterium; chromatin; DNA polymerase θ; DNA repair; genome rearrangements; microhomology−mediated end−joining (MMEJ); non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ); T−DNA borders; T−DNA integration

Date of this Version