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Elevated pCO 2 favours nitrate reduction in the roots of wild-type tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Gat.) and significantly alters N-metabolism in transformants lacking functional nitrate reductase in the roots

Jörg Kruse, Ilka Hetzger, Robert Hänsch, Ralf-R. Mendel, Pia Walch-Liu, Christof Engels and Heinz Rennenberg
Journal of Experimental Botany
Vol. 53, No. 379 (December 2002), pp. 2351-2367
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23697727
Page Count: 17
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Elevated pCO
          2
          favours nitrate reduction in the roots of wild-type tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Gat.) and significantly alters N-metabolism in transformants lacking functional nitrate reductase in the roots
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Abstract

The impact of elevated pCO2 on N-metabolism of hydroponically grown wild-type and transformed tobacco plants lacking root nitrate reduction was studied in order to elucidate the effects on (i) nitrate uptake, (ii) long-distance transport of N, (iii) nitrate reduction with emphasis on root-NR, and (iv) the allocation of N between the root and shoot. The findings were related to alterations of growth rates. At elevated pCO2 the wild type exhibited higher growth rates, which were accompanied by an increase of $\mathrm{N}{\mathrm{O}}_{3}^{-}$-uptake per plant, due to a higher root:shoot ratio. Furthermore, elevated pCO2 enhanced nitrate reduction in the roots of the wild type, resulting in enhanced xylem-loading of organic N (amino-N) to supply the shoot with sufficient nitrogen, and decreased phloem-transport of organic N in a basipetal direction. Transformed tobacco plants lacking root nitrate reduction were smaller than the wild type and exhibited lower growth rates. Nitrate uptake per plant was decreased in transformed plants as a consequence of an impeded root growth and, thus, a significantly decreased root:shoot ratio. Surprisingly, transformed plants showed an altered allocation of amino-N between the root and the shoot, with an increase of amino-N in the root and a substantial decrease of amino-N in the shoot. In transformed plants, xylem-loading of nitrate was increased and the roots were supplied with organic N via phloem transport. Elevated pCO2 increased shoot-NR, but only slightly affected the growth rates of transformed plants, whereas carbohydrates accumulated at elevated pCO2 as indicated by a significant increase of the C/N ratio in the leaves of transformed plants. Unexpectedly, the C/N balance and the functional equilibrium between root and shoot growth was disturbed dramatically by the loss of nitrate reduction in the root.

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