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Plant Cell Physiol. 2007 Jul;48(7):1022-35. Epub 2007 Jun 12.

A nitrite transporter associated with nitrite uptake by higher plant chloroplasts.

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  • 1Department of Applied Life Sciences, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University, 1-1 Gakuen-cho, Naka-ku, Sakai, Osaka, 599-8531 Japan.


Chloroplasts take up cytosolic nitrite during nitrate assimilation. In this study we identified a nitrite transporter located in the chloroplasts of higher plants. The transporter, CsNitr1-L, a member of the proton-dependent oligopeptide transporter (POT) family, was detected during light-induced chloroplast development in de-etiolating cucumber seedlings. We detected a CsNitr1-L-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein in the chloroplasts of leaf cells and found that an immunoreactive 51 kDa protein was present in the isolated inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts. CsNitr1-L has an isoform, CsNitr1-S, with an identical 484 amino acid core sequence; however, in CsNitr1-S the 120 amino acid N-terminal extension is missing. Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells expressing CsNitr1-S absorbed nitrite from an acidic medium at a slower rate than mock-transformed control cells, and accumulated nitrite to only one-sixth the concentration of the control cells, suggesting that CsNitr1-S enhances the efflux of nitrite from the cell. Insertion of T-DNA in a single CsNitr1-L homolog (At1g68570) in Arabidopsis resulted in nitrite accumulation in leaves to more than five times the concentration found in the wild type. These results show that it is possible that both CsNitr1-L and CsNitr1-S encode efflux-type nitrite transporters, but with different subcellular localizations. CsNitr1-L may possibly load cytosolic nitrite into chloroplast stroma in the chloroplast envelope during nitrate assimilation. The presence of genes homologous to CsNitr1-L in the genomes of Arabidopsis and rice indicates that facilitated nitrite transport is of general physiological importance in plant nutrition.

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