Asparagine as a major factor in the N-feedback regulation of N2 fixation in Medicago truncatula

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Sulieman, Saad
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The objective of this study was to assess whether a whole plant N-feedback regulation impact on nitrogen fixation in Medicago truncatula would manifest itself in shifts of the composition of the amino acid flow from shoots to nodules. Detected shifts in the phloem amino acid composition were supposed to be mimicked through artificial phloem feeding and concomitant measurement of nodule activity. The amino acid composition of the phloem exudates was analyzed from plants grown under the influence of treatments (limiting P supply or application of combined nitrogen) known to reduce nodule nitrogen fixation activity. Plants in nutrient solution were supplied with sufficient (9 μM) control, limiting (1 μM) phosphorus or 3 mM NH4NO3 (downregulated nodule activity). Low phosphorus and the application of NH4NO3 reduced per plant and specific nitrogenase activity (H2 evolution).At day 64 of growth, phloem exudateswere collected from cuts of the shoot base. The amount of amino acids was strongly increased in both phloem exudates and nodules of the treatments with downregulated nodule activity. The increase in the downregulated treatments was almost exclusively the result of a higher proportion of asparagine in both phloem exudates and nodules. Leaf labeling with 15N showed that nitrogen from the leaves is retranslocated to nodules. An artificial phloem feeding with asparagine resulted in an increased concentration of asparagine in nodules and a decreased nodule activity. A possible role of asparagine in an N-feedback regulation of nitrogen fixation in M. truncatula is discussed.
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Medicago truncatula,Asparagine,NH4NO3