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Nature. 2017 May 18;545(7654):311-316. doi: 10.1038/nature22077. Epub 2017 May 10.

Discovery of nitrate-CPK-NLP signalling in central nutrient-growth networks.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Centre for Computational and Integrative Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.
Basic Forestry and Proteomics Research Center, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, Fujian 350002, China.
Biotechnology Research Center, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.
Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay (IPS2), CNRS, INRA, Université Paris-Sud, Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne, Université Paris-Diderot, Sorbonne Paris-Cité, Université Paris-Saclay, Bâtiment 630, 91405 Orsay, France.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF, 600 16th St, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


Nutrient signalling integrates and coordinates gene expression, metabolism and growth. However, its primary molecular mechanisms remain incompletely understood in plants and animals. Here we report unique Ca2+ signalling triggered by nitrate with live imaging of an ultrasensitive biosensor in Arabidopsis leaves and roots. A nitrate-sensitized and targeted functional genomic screen identifies subgroup III Ca2+-sensor protein kinases (CPKs) as master regulators that orchestrate primary nitrate responses. A chemical switch with the engineered mutant CPK10(M141G) circumvents embryo lethality and enables conditional analyses of cpk10 cpk30 cpk32 triple mutants to define comprehensive nitrate-associated regulatory and developmental programs. Nitrate-coupled CPK signalling phosphorylates conserved NIN-LIKE PROTEIN (NLP) transcription factors to specify the reprogramming of gene sets for downstream transcription factors, transporters, nitrogen assimilation, carbon/nitrogen metabolism, redox, signalling, hormones and proliferation. Conditional cpk10 cpk30 cpk32 and nlp7 mutants similarly impair nitrate-stimulated system-wide shoot growth and root establishment. The nutrient-coupled Ca2+ signalling network integrates transcriptome and cellular metabolism with shoot-root coordination and developmental plasticity in shaping organ biomass and architecture.

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