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In low transpiring conditions, nitrate and water fluxes for growth of B. napus plantlets correlate with changes in BnNrt2.1 and BnNrt1.1 nitrate transporter expression

Plant Signaling & Behavior
Landes Bioscience
Publication Date
DOI: 10.4161/psb.22902
  • Research Paper


We analyzed how changes in BnNrt nitrate transporter gene expression induced by nitrate are associated with morphological changes in plantlets and osmotic water flow for growth. We hypothesized that in a Petri dish system, reduction in transpiration should induce conditions where nitrate and water fluxes for growth depend directly on nitrate transporter activity and nitrate signaling. Rape seedlings growing on agar plates were supplied with increasing external K15NO3 concentrations from 0.05 to 20 mM. After 5 d of treatment, morphological switches in plantlet growth were observed between 0.5 and 5 mM nitrate supply. Root elongation was reduced by 50% while the cotyledon surface area was doubled. These morphological switches were strongly associated with increases in 15NO3- and water uptake rates as well as 15N and water allocation to the shoot. These switches were also highly correlated with the upregulation of BnNrt1.1 and BnNrt2.1 in the root. However, while root expression of BnNrt2.1 was correlated linearly with a shoot growth-associated increase in 15N and water uptake, BnNrt1.1 expression was correlated exponentially with both 15N and water accumulation. In low transpiring conditions, the tight control exercised by nitrate transporters on K15NO3 uptake and allocation clearly demonstrates that they modulated the nitrate-signaling cascade involved in cell growth and as a consequence, water uptake and allocation to the growing organs. Deciphering this signaling cascade in relation to acid growth theory seems to be the most important challenge for our understanding of the nitrate-signaling role in plant growth.

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