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J Exp Bot. 2014 Oct;65(19):5589-600. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru267. Epub 2014 Jul 8.

Emergence of a new step towards understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying nitrate-regulated gene expression.

Author information

1
Biotechnology Research Center, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.
2
Biotechnology Research Center, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan asyanagi@mail.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp.

Abstract

Nitrogen is one of the primary macronutrients of plants, and nitrate is the most abundant inorganic form of nitrogen in soils. Plants take up nitrate in soils and utilize it both for nitrogen assimilation and as a signalling molecule. Thus, an essential role for nitrate in plants is triggering changes in gene expression patterns, including immediate induction of the expression of genes involved in nitrate transport and assimilation, as well as several transcription factor genes and genes related to carbon metabolism and cytokinin biosynthesis and response. Significant progress has been made in recent years towards understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying nitrate-regulated gene expression in higher plants; a new stage in our understanding of this process is emerging. A key finding is the identification of NIN-like proteins (NLPs) as transcription factors governing nitrate-inducible gene expression. NLPs bind to nitrate-responsive DNA elements (NREs) located at nitrate-inducible gene loci and activate their NRE-dependent expression. Importantly, post-translational regulation of NLP activity by nitrate signalling was strongly suggested to be a vital process in NLP-mediated transcriptional activation and subsequent nitrate responses. We present an overview of the current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying nitrate-regulated gene expression in higher plants.

KEYWORDS:

NIN-like protein (NLP); nitrate; nitrate signalling.; nitrate-responsive gene expression; post-translational regulation; transcription factor

PMID:
25005135
DOI:
10.1093/jxb/eru267
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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