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Agrobacterium radiobacter K84, used worldwide to biocontrol crown gall disease caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens, produces an antiagrobacterial compound called agrocin 84. We report the nucleotide sequence of pAgK84, a 44.42-kb plasmid coding for production of this disubstituted adenine nucleotide antibiotic. pAgK84 encodes 36 ORFs, 17 of which (agn) code for synthesis of or immunity to agrocin 84. Two genes, agnB2 and agnA, encode aminoacyl tRNA synthetase homologues. We have shown that the toxic moiety of agrocin 84 inhibits cellular leucyl-tRNA synthetases and AgnB2, which confers immunity to the antibiotic, is a resistant form of this enzyme. AgnA, a truncated homologue of asparaginyl tRNA synthetase could catalyze the phosphoramidate bond between a precursor of the methyl pentanamide side group and the nucleotide. We propose previously undescribed chemistry, catalyzed by AgnB1, to generate the precursor necessary for this phosphoramidate linkage. AgnC7 is related to ribonucleotide reductases and could generate the 3'-deoxyarabinose moiety of the nucleoside. Bioinformatics suggest that agnC3, agnC4, and agnC6 contribute to maturation of the methyl pentanamide, whereas agnC2 may produce the glucofuranose side group bound to the adenine ring. AgnG is related to bacterial exporters. An agnG mutant accumulated agrocin 84 intracellularly but did not export the antibiotic. pAgK84 is transmissible and encodes genes for conjugative DNA processing but lacks a type IV secretion system, suggesting that pAgK84 transfers by mobilization. By sequence analysis, the deletion engineered into pAgK1026 removed the oriT and essential tra genes, confirming the enhanced environmental safety of this modified form of pAgK84.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





8846 - 8851


Adenine Nucleotides, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Base Sequence, Conjugation, Genetic, DNA Replication, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Pest Control, Biological, Physical Chromosome Mapping, Plant Tumors, Rhizobium