The Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Aspergillus awamori was optimized using defined co-cultivation conditions, which resulted in a reproducible and efficient transformation system. Optimal co-cultivation conditions were used to study the role of Agrobacterium tumefaciens virulence proteins in T-DNA transfer. This study revealed that inactivation of either of the regulatory proteins (VirA, VirG), any of the transport pore proteins (VirB), proteins involved in generation of the T-strand (VirD, VirC) or T-strand protection and targeting (VirE2) abolishes or severely reduces the formation of transformants. The results indicate that the Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of A. awamori requires an intact T-DNA machinery for efficient transformation; however, the plant host range factors, like VirE3, VirH, and VirF, are not important. Index descriptors: Agrobacterium tumefaciens; T-DNA; Virulence proteins; DNA-transformation; Aspergillus awamori; Filamentous fungi © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.