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Nature. 2018 Nov;563(7730):259-264. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0656-3. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

Transcriptional regulation of nitrogen-associated metabolism and growth.

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Department of Plant Biology and Genome Center, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA.
DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, IA, USA.
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
DynaMo Center of Excellence, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Ithaca, NY, USA.
Department of Plant Biology and Genome Center, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA.


Nitrogen is an essential macronutrient for plant growth and basic metabolic processes. The application of nitrogen-containing fertilizer increases yield, which has been a substantial factor in the green revolution1. Ecologically, however, excessive application of fertilizer has disastrous effects such as eutrophication2. A better understanding of how plants regulate nitrogen metabolism is critical to increase plant yield and reduce fertilizer overuse. Here we present a transcriptional regulatory network and twenty-one transcription factors that regulate the architecture of root and shoot systems in response to changes in nitrogen availability. Genetic perturbation of a subset of these transcription factors revealed coordinate transcriptional regulation of enzymes involved in nitrogen metabolism. Transcriptional regulators in the network are transcriptionally modified by feedback via genetic perturbation of nitrogen metabolism. The network, genes and gene-regulatory modules identified here will prove critical to increasing agricultural productivity.


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