We used bimolecular fluorescence complementation technology to screen a plant cDNA library against a bait protein directly in plants. As proof of concept, we used the N-terminal fragment of yellow fluorescent protein– or nVenus-tagged Agrobacterium tumefaciens VirE2 and VirD2 proteins and the C-terminal extension (CTE) domain of Arabidopsis thaliana telomerase reverse transcriptase as baits to screen an Arabidopsis cDNA library encoding proteins tagged with the C-terminal fragment of yellow fluorescent protein. A library of colonies representing ∼2 × 105 cDNAs was arrayed in 384-well plates.
Sequential screening of subsets of cDNAs in Arabidopsis leaf or tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Bright Yellow-2 protoplasts identified single cDNA clones encoding proteins that interact with either, or both, of the Agrobacterium bait proteins, or with CTE. T-DNA insertions in the genes represented by some cDNAs revealed five novel Arabidopsis proteins important for Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation. We also used this cDNA library to confirm VirE2-interacting proteins in orchid (Phalaenopsis amabilis) flowers. Thus, this technology can be applied to several plant species.