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      Plant Nitrogen Acquisition Under Low Availability: Regulation of Uptake and Root Architecture

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          Abstract

          Nitrogen availability is a major factor determining plant growth and productivity. Plants acquire nitrogen nutrients from the soil through their roots mostly in the form of ammonium and nitrate. Since these nutrients are scarce in natural soils, plants have evolved adaptive responses to cope with the environment. One of the most important responses is the regulation of nitrogen acquisition efficiency. This review provides an update on the molecular determinants of two major drivers of the nitrogen acquisition efficiency: (i) uptake activity (e.g. high-affinity nitrogen transporters) and (ii) root architecture (e.g. low-nitrogen-availability-specific regulators of primary and lateral root growth). Major emphasis is laid on the regulation of these determinants by nitrogen supply at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, which enables plants to optimize nitrogen acquisition efficiency under low nitrogen availability.

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          Most cited references66

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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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              How do plants respond to nutrient shortage by biomass allocation?

              Plants constantly sense the changes in their environment; when mineral elements are scarce, they often allocate a greater proportion of their biomass to the root system. This acclimatory response is a consequence of metabolic changes in the shoot and an adjustment of carbohydrate transport to the root. It has long been known that deficiencies of essential macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium) result in an accumulation of carbohydrates in leaves and roots, and modify the shoot-to-root biomass ratio. Here, we present an update on the effects of mineral deficiencies on the expression of genes involved in primary metabolism in the shoot, the evidence for increased carbohydrate concentrations and altered biomass allocation between shoot and root, and the consequences of these changes on the growth and morphology of the plant root system.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Plant Cell Physiol
                Plant Cell Physiol
                pcp
                pcellphys
                Plant and Cell Physiology
                Oxford University Press
                0032-0781
                1471-9053
                April 2016
                29 March 2016
                29 March 2016
                : 57
                : 4 , Special Focus Issue Plant Responses to the Environment
                : 707-714
                Affiliations
                1RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, 1-7-22 Suehiro, Tsurumi, Yokohama, 230-0045 Japan
                2Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, INRA, AgroParisTech, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay, RD10, 78026 Versailles, France
                Author notes
                *Corresponding authors: Takatoshi Kiba, E-mail, takatoshi.kiba@ 123456riken.jp ; Fax, +81-45-503-9609; Anne Krapp, E-mail, anne.krapp@ 123456versailles.inra.fr ; Fax,+33-130833077.
                Article
                pcw052
                10.1093/pcp/pcw052
                4836452
                27025887
                5b67f530-4f0d-47ac-b565-1ac9b5ec5b90
                © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 24 December 2015
                : 4 March 2016
                Page count
                Pages: 8
                Categories
                Special Focus Issue – Mini Review

                Plant science & Botany
                acquisition efficiency,limitation,nitrogen nutrient,root architecture,uptake

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