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Plant Physiol. 2001 Apr;125(4):1743-53.

Real time visualization of 13N-translocation in rice under different environmental conditions using positron emitting Ttacer imaging system.

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Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, The University of Tokyo, 1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.


The ammonium ion is an indispensable nitrogen source for crops, especially paddy rice (Oryza sativa L. cv Nipponbare). Until now, it has been impossible to measure ammonium uptake and nitrogen movement in plants in real time. Using the new technologies of PETIS (positron emitting tracer imaging system) and PMPS (positron multi-probe system), we were able to visualize the real time translocation of nitrogen and water in rice plants. We used positron-emitting 13N-labeled ammonium (13NH4+) and 15O-water to monitor the movement. In plants cultured under normal conditions, 13NH4+ supplied to roots was taken up, and a 13N signal was detected at the discrimination center, the basal part of the shoots, within 2 minutes. This rapid translocation of (13)N was almost completely inhibited by a glutamine synthetase inhibitor, methionine sulfoximine. In general, nitrogen deficiency enhanced 13N translocation to the discrimination center. In the dark, 13N translocation to the discrimination center was suppressed to 40% of control levels, whereas 15O-water flow from the root to the discrimination center stopped completely in the dark. In abscisic acid-treated rice, 13N translocation to the discrimination center was doubled, whereas translocation to leaves decreased to 40% of control levels. Pretreatment with NO3- for 36 hours increased 13N translocation from the roots to the discrimination center to 5 times of control levels. These results suggest that ammonium assimilation (from the roots to the discrimination center) depends passively on water flow, but actively on NH4+-transporter(s) or glutamine synthetase(s).

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