Deletion of host histone acetyltransferases and deacetylases strongly affects Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae


  • Editor: Derek Jamieson

Correspondence: Gerard Paul H. van Heusden, Section of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 64, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands. Tel.: +31 71 527 4996; fax: +31 71 527 4999; e-mail:


Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a plant pathogen that genetically transforms plant cells by transferring a part of its Ti-plasmid, the T-strand, to the host cell. Under laboratory conditions, it can also transform cells from many different nonplant organisms, including the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Collections of S. cerevisiae strains have been developed with systematic deletion of all coding sequences. Here, we used these collections to identify genes involved in the Agrobacterium-mediated transformation (AMT) of S. cerevisiae. We found that deletion of genes (GCN5, NGG1, YAF9 and EAF7) encoding subunits of the SAGA, SLIK, ADA and NuA4 histone acetyltransferase complexes highly increased the efficiency of AMT, while deletion of genes (HDA2, HDA3 and HST4) encoding subunits of histone deacetylase complexes decreased AMT. These effects are specific for AMT as the efficiency of chemical (lithium acetate) transformation was not or only slightly affected by these deletions. Our data are consistent with a positive role of host histone deacetylation in AMT.