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Plant Cell. 1999 Aug;11(8):1381-92.

Cloning and functional characterization of an Arabidopsis nitrate transporter gene that encodes a constitutive component of low-affinity uptake.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.


The Arabidopsis CHL1 (AtNRT1) gene encodes an inducible component of low-affinity nitrate uptake, which necessitates a "two-component" model to account for the constitutive low-affinity uptake observed in physiological studies. Here, we report the cloning and characterization of a CHL1 homolog, AtNRT1:2 (originally named NTL1), with data to indicate that this gene encodes a constitutive component of low-affinity nitrate uptake. Transgenic plants expressing antisense AtNRT1:2 exhibited reduced nitrate-induced membrane depolarization and nitrate uptake activities in assays with 10 mM nitrate. Furthermore, transgenic plants expressing antisense AtNRT1:2 in the chl1-5 background exhibited an enhanced resistance to chlorate (7 mM as opposed to 2 mM for the chl1-5 mutant). Kinetic analysis of AtNRT1:2-injected Xenopus oocytes yielded a K(m) for nitrate of approximately 5.9 mM. In contrast to CHL1, AtNRT1:2 was constitutively expressed before and after nitrate exposure (it was repressed transiently only when the level of CHL1 mRNA started to increase significantly), and its mRNA was found primarily in root hairs and the epidermis in both young (root tips) and mature regions of roots. We conclude that low-affinity systems of nitrate uptake, like high-affinity systems, are composed of inducible and constitutive components and that with their distinct functions, they are part of an elaborate nitrate uptake network in Arabidopsis.

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