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Plant Physiol. 1992 Aug;99(4):1582-9.

Studies of the uptake of nitrate in barley : v. Estimation of root cytoplasmic nitrate concentration using nitrate reductase activity-implications for nitrate influx.

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  • 1Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4.


The cytoplasmic NO(3) (-) concentration ([NO(3) (-)](c)) was estimated for roots of barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv Klondike) using a technique based on measurement of in vivo nitrate reductase activity. At zero external NO(3) (-) concentration ([NO(3) (-)](o)), [NO(3) (-)](c) was estimated to be 0.66 mm for plants previously grown in 100 mum NO(3) (-). It increased linearly with [NO(3) (-)](o) between 2 and 20 mm, up to 3.9 mm at 20 mm [NO(3) (-)](o). The values obtained are much lower than previous estimates from compartmental analysis of barley roots. These observations support the suggestion (MY Siddiqi, ADM Glass, TJ Ruth [1991] J Exp Bot 42: 1455-1463) that the nitrate reductase-based technique and compartmental analysis determine [NO(3) (-)](c) for two separate pools; an active, nitrate reductase-containing pool (possibly located in the epidermal cells) and a larger, slowly metabolized storage pool (possibly in the cortical cells), respectively. Given the values obtained for [NO(3) (-)](c) and cell membrane potentials of -200 to -300 mV (ADM Glass, JE Schaff, LV Kochian [1992] Plant Physiol 99: 456-463), it is very unlikely that passive influx of NO(3) (-) is possible via the high-concentration, low-affinity transport system for NO(3) (-). This conclusion is consistent with the suggestion by Glass et al. that this system is thermodynamically active and capable of transporting NO(3) (-) against its electrochemical potential gradient.

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