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Mol Gen Genet. 1996 Feb 25;250(3):357-66.

Methylammonium-resistant mutants of Nicotiana plumbaginifolia are affected in nitrate transport.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, INRA, Versailles, France.


This work reports the isolation and preliminary characterization of Nicotiana plumbaginifolia mutants resistant to methylammonium. Nicotiana plumbaginifolia plants cannot grow on low levels of nitrate in the presence of methylammonium. Methylammonium is not used as a nitrogen source, although it can be efficiently taken up by Nicotiana plumbaginifolia cells and converted into methylglutamine, an analog of glutamine. Glutamine is known to repress the expression of the enzymes that mediate the first two steps in the nitrate assimilatory pathway, nitrate reductase (NR) and nitrite reductase (NiR). Methylammonium has therefore been used, in combination with low concentrations of nitrate, as a selective agent in order to screen for mutants in which the nitrate pathway is de-repressed. Eleven semi-dominant mutants, all belonging to the same complementation group, were identified. The mutant showing the highest resistance to methylammonium was not affected either in the utilization of ammonium, accumulation of methylammonium or in glutamine synthase activity. A series of experiments showed that utilization of nitrite by the wild-type and the mutant was comparable, in the presence or the absence of methylammonium, thus suggesting that the mutation specifically affected nitrate transport or reduction. Although NR mRNA levels were less repressed by methylammonium treatment of the wild-type than the mutant, NR activities of the mutant remained comparable with or without methylammonium, leading to the hypothesis that modified expression of NR is probably not responsible for resistance to methylammonium. Methylammonium inhibited nitrate uptake in the wild-type but had only a limited effect in the mutant. The implications of these results are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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