virD is an operon of 4 genes. Out of these four genes two code for VirD1 and VirD2 proteins. VirD1 and VirD2 play a key role in generating T-DNA transfer complex: They recognize the T-DNA border sequences and nick the bottom strand at each border by their endonuclease activity. VirD2 remains covalently attached to to the 5′-end of the ssT-strand (single strand T-strand) after the cleavage. This association is important as it prevents the exonucleolytic attack to the 5′-end of the ssT-strand. It also distinguishes the 5′-end as the leading end of the T-DNA transfer complex. VirD1 is found to be essential for the cleavage of supercoiled DNA by VirD2.
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