Exogenous trehalose improves growth under limiting nitrogen through upregulation of nitrogen metabolism

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Paul, M. J., Lin, Y., Zhang, J., Chen, Y., Li, H., Lawlor, D. W. and Pan, W. 2017. Exogenous trehalose improves growth under limiting nitrogen through upregulation of nitrogen metabolism . BMC Plant Biology. 17, p. 247.

AuthorsPaul, M. J., Lin, Y., Zhang, J., Chen, Y., Li, H., Lawlor, D. W. and Pan, W.
Abstract

The trehalose (Tre) pathway has strong effects on growth and development in plants through regulation of carbon metabolism. Altering either Tre or trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) can improve growth and productivity of plants as observed under different water availability. As yet, there are no reports of the effects of modification of Tre orT6P on plant performance under limiting nutrition. Here we report that nitrogen (N) metabolism is positively affected by exogenous application of Tre in nitrogen-deficient growing conditions. Spraying foliage of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) with trehalose partially alleviated symptoms of nitrogen deficiency through upregulation of nitrate and ammonia assimilation and increasing activities of nitrate reductase (NR), glycolate oxidase (GO), glutamine synthetase (GS) and glutamine oxoglutarate aminotransferase (GOGAT) with concomitant changes in ammonium (NH4 +) and nitrate (NO3 −) concentrations, glutamine and amino acids. Chlorophyll and total nitrogen content of leaves and rates of photosynthesis were increased compared to nitrogen-deficient plants without applied Tre. Total plant biomass accumulation was also higher in Tre -fed nitrogen-deficient plants, with a smaller proportion of dry weight partitioned to roots, compared to nitrogen-deficient plants without applied Tre. Consistent with higher nitrogen assimilation and growth, Tre application reduced foliar starch. Minimal effects of Tre feeding were observed on nitrogen-sufficient plants.
The data show, for the first time, significant stimulatory effects of exogenous Tre on nitrogen metabolism and growth in plants growing under deficient nitrogen. Under such adverse conditions metabolism is regulated for survival rather than productivity. Application of Tre can alter this regulation towards maintenance of productive functions under low nitrogen. This has implications for considering approaches to modifying the Tre pathway for to improve crop nitrogen-use efficiency and production.

KeywordsTrehaloseNO3 − assimilationNH4 + assimilationNicotiana tabacum Nitrogen
Year of Publication2017
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Journal citation17, p. 247
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1186/s12870-017-1207-z
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeDFW - Designing Future Wheat - Work package 1 (WP1) - Increased efficiency and sustainability
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print19 Dec 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted08 Dec 2017
PublisherBiomed Central Ltd
Copyright licenseCC BY
ISSN1471-2229

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