Nitrogenous inorganic compounds impact plants as nutrients, signals and toxins. We are dissecting a regulatory network that controls nitrate assimilation at the level of nitrate reductase (NR) activity. The identification of protein kinase cascades, protein phosphatases and 14-3-3 proteins as regulators of NR are giving clues about how plants sense their nutrient availability, and use the information to signal changes in their metabolism and developmental strategies to cope with supplies. We hope that understanding these controls might lead to the design of transgenic plants with deregulated signalling networks, which would make them more efficient in using nitrogen fertilizers, and improving quality and yield of crops. There are circumstantial indications that gaseous anthropogenic nitrogenous emissions might also have complex regulatory influences on plant growth and development.
- 14-3-3 proteins
- Nitrate reductase
- Nitric oxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Reversible protein phosphorylation