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J Proteome Res. 2012 Apr 6;11(4):2301-15. doi: 10.1021/pr2010764. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

A comprehensive differential proteomic study of nitrate deprivation in Arabidopsis reveals complex regulatory networks of plant nitrogen responses.

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School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


Nitrogen (N) is an important nutrient and signal for plant growth and development. However, to date, our knowledge of how plants sense and transduce the N signals is very limited. To better understand the molecular mechanisms of plant N responses, we took two-dimensional gel-based proteomic and phosphoproteomic approaches to profile the proteins with abundance and phosphorylation state changes during nitrate deprivation and recovery in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. After 7-day-old seedlings were N-deprived for up to 48 h followed by 24 h recovery, a total of 170 and 38 proteins were identified with significant changes in abundance and phosphorylation state, respectively. Bioinformatic analyses implicate these proteins in diverse cellular processes including N and protein metabolisms, photosynthesis, cytoskeleton, redox homeostasis, and signal transduction. Functional studies of the selected nitrate-responsive proteins indicate that the proteasome regulatory subunit RPT5a and the cytoskeleton protein Tubulin alpha-6 (TUA6) play important roles in plant nitrate responses by regulating plant N use efficiency (NUE) and low nitrate-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis, respectively. In conclusion, our study provides novel insights into plant responses to nitrate at the proteome level, which are expected to be highly useful for dissecting the N response pathways in higher plants and for improving plant NUE.

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