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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2009 Jun;12(3):284-90. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2009.04.010. Epub 2009 May 27.

Freeways in the plant: transporters for N, P and S and their regulation.

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Centre for Soils and Ecosystem Function, Rothamsted Research, Hertfordshire, UK.


This review focuses on plant acquisition and transport of the inorganic forms of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur. Families of membrane transporters have been identified and several members are well characterised. Although some families are large, specific members may be expressed in a particular membrane or cell type, or at certain times during development. Therefore, each transporter can have specific activities and the concept of functional redundancy is questionable. Structurally related proteins can mediate all transport steps within the plant, including uptake from the soil. Although transport mechanisms and membrane locations may be different, a picture is emerging that suggests sequence homology can be a reasonable indicator of the nutrient that is transported by each protein.

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