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      Nitric oxide generated by nitrate reductase increases nitrogen uptake capacity by inducing lateral root formation and inorganic nitrogen uptake under partial nitrate nutrition in rice

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          NO generated by nitrate reductase plays a pivotal role in improving N-use efficiency by increasing lateral root initiation and inorganic N uptake, representing a strategy for rice to adapt to fluctuating nitrate supply.


          Increasing evidence shows that partial nitrate nutrition (PNN) can be attributed to improved plant growth and nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) in rice. Nitric oxide (NO) is a signalling molecule involved in many physiological processes during plant development and nitrogen (N) assimilation. It remains unclear whether molecular NO improves NUE through PNN. Two rice cultivars (cvs Nanguang and Elio), with high and low NUE, respectively, were used in the analysis of NO production, nitrate reductase (NR) activity, lateral root (LR) density, and 15N uptake under PNN, with or without NO production donor and inhibitors. PNN increased NO accumulation in cv. Nanguang possibly through the NIA2-dependent NR pathway. PNN-mediated NO increases contributed to LR initiation, 15NH 4 +/ 15NO 3 influx into the root, and levels of ammonium and nitrate transporters in cv. Nanguang but not cv. Elio. Further results revealed marked and specific induction of LR initiation and 15NH 4 +/ 15NO 3 influx into the roots of plants supplied with NH 4 ++sodium nitroprusside (SNP) relative to those supplied with NH 4 + alone, and considerable inhibition upon the application of cPTIO or tungstate (NR inhibitor) in addition to PNN, which is in agreement with the change in NO fluorescence in the two rice cultivars. The findings suggest that NO generated by the NR pathway plays a pivotal role in improving the N acquisition capacity by increasing LR initiation and the inorganic N uptake rate, which may represent a strategy for rice plants to adapt to a fluctuating nitrate supply and increase NUE.

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          An Arabidopsis MADS box gene that controls nutrient-induced changes in root architecture.

          The development of plant root systems is sensitive to the availability and distribution of nutrients within the soil. For example, lateral roots proliferate preferentially within nitrate (NO3-)-rich soil patches. A NO3--inducible Arabidopsis gene (ANR1), was identified that encodes a member of the MADS box family of transcription factors. Transgenic plants in which ANR1 was repressed had an altered sensitivity to NO3- and no longer responded to NO3--rich zones by lateral root proliferation, indicating that ANR1 is a key determinant of developmental plasticity in Arabidopsis roots.
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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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              Nitrate-regulated auxin transport by NRT1.1 defines a mechanism for nutrient sensing in plants.

              Nitrate is both a nitrogen source for higher plants and a signal molecule regulating their development. In Arabidopsis, the NRT1.1 nitrate transporter is crucial for nitrate signaling governing root growth, and has been proposed to act as a nitrate sensor. However, the sensing mechanism is unknown. Herein we show that NRT1.1 not only transports nitrate but also facilitates uptake of the phytohormone auxin. Moreover, nitrate inhibits NRT1.1-dependent auxin uptake, suggesting that transduction of nitrate signal by NRT1.1 is associated with a modification of auxin transport. Among other effects, auxin stimulates lateral root development. Mutation of NRT1.1 enhances both auxin accumulation in lateral roots and growth of these roots at low, but not high, nitrate concentration. Thus, we propose that NRT1.1 represses lateral root growth at low nitrate availability by promoting basipetal auxin transport out of these roots. This defines a mechanism connecting nutrient and hormone signaling during organ development. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Bot
                J. Exp. Bot
                Journal of Experimental Botany
                Oxford University Press (UK )
                May 2015
                17 March 2015
                17 March 2015
                : 66
                : 9
                : 2449-2459
                1State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Fertilization in Low-Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River, Ministry of Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University , Nanjing 210095, China
                2Tobacco Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) , Qingdao 266101, China
                Author notes
                * These authors contributed equally to this work.
                To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ylzhang@
                © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Research Paper

                Plant science & Botany


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