The VirB8 protein of Agrobacterium tumefaciens is essential for DNA transfer to plants. VirB8, a 237-residue polypeptide, is an integral membrane protein with a short N-terminal cytoplasmic domain. It interacts with two transport pore proteins, VirB9 and VirB10, in addition to itself. To study the role of these interactions in DNA transfer and to identify essential amino acids of VirB8, we introduced random mutations in virB8 by the mutagenic PCR method. The putative mutants were tested for VirB8 function by the ability to complement a virB8 deletion mutant in tumor formation assays. After multiple rounds of screening 13 mutants that failed to complement the virB8 deletion mutation were identified. Analysis of the mutant strains by DNA sequence analysis, Western blot assays, and reconstruction of new point mutations led to the identification of five amino acid residues that are essential for VirB8 function. The substitution of glycine-78 to serine, serine-87 to leucine, alanine-100 to valine, arginine-107 to proline or alanine, and threonine-192 to methionine led to the loss of VirB8 activity. When introduced into the wild-type strain, virB8S87L partially suppressed the tumor forming ability of the wild-type protein. Analysis of protein-protein interaction by the yeast two-hybrid assay indicated that VirB8R107P is defective in interactions with both VirB9 and VirB10. A second mutant VirB8S87L is defective in interaction with VirB9.