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      Ammonium as a signal for physiological and morphological responses in plants

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      Journal of Experimental Botany
      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Plant nitrogen assimilation and use efficiency.

          Crop productivity relies heavily on nitrogen (N) fertilization. Production and application of N fertilizers consume huge amounts of energy, and excess is detrimental to the environment; therefore, increasing plant N use efficiency (NUE) is essential for the development of sustainable agriculture. Plant NUE is inherently complex, as each step-including N uptake, translocation, assimilation, and remobilization-is governed by multiple interacting genetic and environmental factors. The limiting factors in plant metabolism for maximizing NUE are different at high and low N supplies, indicating great potential for improving the NUE of current cultivars, which were bred in well-fertilized soil. Decreasing environmental losses and increasing the productivity of crop-acquired N requires the coordination of carbohydrate and N metabolism to give high yields. Increasing both the grain and N harvest index to drive N acquisition and utilization are important approaches for breeding future high-NUE cultivars.
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            CHL1 functions as a nitrate sensor in plants.

            Ions serve as essential nutrients in higher plants and can also act as signaling molecules. Little is known about how plants sense changes in soil nutrient concentrations. Previous studies showed that T101-phosphorylated CHL1 is a high-affinity nitrate transporter, whereas T101-dephosphorylated CHL1 is a low-affinity transporter. In this study, analysis of an uptake- and sensing-decoupled mutant showed that the nitrate transporter CHL1 functions as a nitrate sensor. Primary nitrate responses in CHL1T101D and CHLT101A transgenic plants showed that phosphorylated and dephosphorylated CHL1 lead to a low- and high-level response, respectively. In vitro and in vivo studies showed that, in response to low nitrate concentrations, protein kinase CIPK23 can phosphorylate T101 of CHL1 to maintain a low-level primary response. Thus, CHL1 uses dual-affinity binding and a phosphorylation switch to sense a wide range of nitrate concentrations in the soil, thereby functioning as an ion sensor in higher plants. For a video summary of this article, see the PaperFlick file with the Supplemental Data available online.
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              The role of nutrient availability in regulating root architecture.

              The ability of plants to respond appropriately to nutrient availability is of fundamental importance for their adaptation to the environment. Nutrients such as nitrate, phosphate, sulfate and iron act as signals that can be perceived. These signals trigger molecular mechanisms that modify cell division and cell differentiation processes within the root and have a profound impact on root system architecture. Important developmental processes, such as root-hair formation, primary root growth and lateral root formation, are particularly sensitive to changes in the internal and external concentration of nutrients. The responses of root architecture to nutrients can be modified by plant growth regulators, such as auxins, cytokinins and ethylene, suggesting that the nutritional control of root development may be mediated by changes in hormone synthesis, transport or sensitivity. Recent information points to the existence of nutrient-specific signal transduction pathways that interpret the external and internal concentrations of nutrients to modify root development. Progress in this field has led to the cloning of regulatory genes that play pivotal roles in nutrient-induced changes to root development.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Experimental Botany
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                0022-0957
                1460-2431
                May 01 2017
                May 01 2017
                March 23 2017
                May 01 2017
                May 01 2017
                March 23 2017
                : 68
                : 10
                : 2581-2592
                Article
                10.1093/jxb/erx086
                28369490
                57fb3149-19b6-45e6-8032-b7ff40228cc2
                © 2017
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