Kado, Clarence J. Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, California.
- Crown gall tumors
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A neoplastic disease of primarily woody plants, featuring abnormal growths (galls) that occur at the base of the stem or root crown or on other plant parts. Crown gall results from infection of plant wounds by the free-living soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens (also known as Rhizobium radiobacter), which is commonly associated with the roots of plants. It predominantly affects woody plants, although the disease can be reproduced in species representing more than 90 plant families. The first step in the infection process is the site-specific attachment of the bacteria to the plant host. Up to half of the bacteria become attached to host cells after 2 h. At 1 or 2 weeks after infection, swellings and overgrowths take place in tissue surrounding the site of infection. Eventually, these tissues proliferate into large tumors (see illustration). If infection takes place around the main stem or trunk of woody hosts, continued tumor proliferation will cause girdling and may kill the host. Crown gall is therefore economically important, particularly in nurseries where plant material for commercial use is propagated and disseminated. See also: Bacteria; Plant pathology
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