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The OSU1/QUA2/TSD2-Encoded Putative Methyltransferase Is a Critical Modulator of Carbon and Nitrogen Nutrient Balance Response in Arabidopsis

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001387
  • Research Article
  • Nutrition
  • Cell Biology/Cell Signaling
  • Cell Biology/Cellular Death And Stress Responses
  • Plant Biology/Plant Biochemistry And Physiology
  • Plant Biology/Plant Genetics And Gene Expression
  • Plant Biology/Plant Growth And Development
  • Plant Biology/Plant-Environment Interactions


The balance between carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) nutrients must be tightly coordinated so that cells can optimize their opportunity for metabolism, growth and development. However, the C and N nutrient balance perception and signaling mechanism remains poorly understood. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of two allelic oversensitive to sugar1 mutants (osu1-1, osu1-2) in Arabidopsis thaliana. Using the cotyledon anthocyanin accumulation and root growth inhibition assays, we show that the osu1 mutants are more sensitive than wild-type to both of the imbalanced C/N conditions, high C/low N and low C/high N. However, under the balanced C/N conditions (low C/low N or high C/high N), the osu1 mutants have similar anthocyanin levels and root lengths as wild-type. Consistently, the genes encoding two MYB transcription factors (MYB75 and MYB90) and an Asn synthetase isoform (ASN1) are strongly up-regulated by the OSU1 mutation in response to high C/low N and low C/high N, respectively. Furthermore, the enhanced sensitivity of osu1-1 to high C/low N with respect to anthocyanin accumulation but not root growth inhibition can be suppressed by co-suppression of MYB75, indicating that MYB75 acts downstream of OSU1 in the high C/low N imbalance response. Map-based cloning reveals that OSU1 encodes a member of a large family of putative methyltransferases and is allelic to the recently reported QUA2/TSD2 locus identified in genetic screens for cell-adhesion-defective mutants. Accumulation of OSU1/QUA2/TSD2 transcript was not regulated by C and N balance, but the OSU1 promoter was slightly more active in the vascular system. Taken together, our results show that the OSU1/QUA2/TSD2-encoded putative methyltransferase is required for normal C/N nutrient balance response in plants.

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