J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2016, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (6): 590-599.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12382

Special Issue: Rice Genomics and Agriculture

• Molecular Physiology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A putative 6-transmembrane nitrate transporter OsNRT1.1b plays a key role in rice under low nitrogen

Xiaorong Fan*, Huimin Feng, Yawen Tan, Yanling Xu, Qisong Miao and Guohua Xu   

  1. Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Fertilization in Low-Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River, Ministry of Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China
  • Received:2015-05-26 Accepted:2015-07-21 Published:2015-07-29
  • About author:These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondence: E-mail: xiaorongfan@njau.edu.cn


OsNRT1.1a is a low-affinity nitrate (NO3) transporter gene. In this study, another mRNA splicing product, OsNRT1.1b, putatively encoding a protein with six transmembrane domains, was identified based on the rice genomic database and bioinformatics analysis. OsNRT1.1a/OsNRT1.1b expression in Xenopus oocytes showed OsNRT1.1a-expressing oocytes accumulated 15N levels to about half as compared to OsNRT1.1b-expressing oocytes. The electrophysiological recording of OsNRT1.1b-expressing oocytes treated with 0.25 mM NO3 confirmed 15N accumulation data. More functional assays were performed to examine the function of OsNRT1.1b in rice. The expression of both OsNRT1.1a and OsNRT1.1b was abundant in roots and downregulated by nitrogen (N) deficiency. The shoot biomass of transgenic rice plants with OsNRT1.1a or OsNRT1.1b overexpression increased under various N supplies under hydroponic conditions compared to wild-type (WT). The OsNRT1.1a overexpression lines showed increased plant N accumulation compared to the WT in 1.25 mM NH4NO3 and 2.5 mM NO3 or NH4+ treatments, but not in 0.125 mM NH4NO3. However, OsNRT1.1b overexpression lines increased total N accumulation in all N treatments, including 0.125 mM NH4NO3, suggesting that under low N condition, OsNRT1.1b would accumulate more N in plants and improve rice growth, but also that OsNRT1.1a had no such function in rice plants.

Key words: Nitrate, nitrogen accumulation, OsNRT1.1a/b, overexpression, rice, 6-transmembrane transport protein

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