Identification of a high affinity NH4+ transporter from plants.
ABSTRACT: Despite the important role of the ammonium ion in metabolism, i.e. as a form of nitrogen that is taken up from the soil by microorganisms and plants, little is known at the molecular level about its transport across biomembranes. Biphasic uptake kinetics have been observed in roots of several plant species. To study such transport processes, a mutant yeast strain that is deficient in two NH4+ uptake systems was used to identify a plant NH4+ transporter. Expression of an Arabidopsis cDNA in the yeast mutant complemented the uptake deficiency. The cDNA AMT1 contains an open reading frame of 501 amino acids and encodes a highly hydrophobic protein with 9-12 putative membrane spanning regions. Direct uptake measurements show that mutant yeast cells expressing the protein are able to take up [14C]methylamine. Methylamine uptake can be efficiently competed by NH4+ but not by K+. The methylamine uptake is optimal at pH 7 with a Km of 65 microM and a Ki for NH4+ of approximately 10 microM, is energy-dependent and can be inhibited by protonophores. The plant protein is highly related to an NH4+ transporter from yeast (Marini et al., accompanying manuscript). Sequence homologies to genes of bacterial and animal origin indicate that this type of transporter is conserved over a broad range of organisms. Taken together, the data provide strong evidence that a gene for the plant high affinity NH4+ uptake has been identified.
Project description:Nitrogen is one of the most important limiting factors for plant growth. However, as ammonium is readily converted into ammonia (NH3) when soil pH rises above 8.0, this activity depletes the availability of ammonium (NH4(+)) in alkaline soils, consequently preventing the growth of most plant species. The perennial wild grass Puccinellia tenuiflora is one of a few plants able to grow in soils with extremely high salt and alkaline pH (>9.0) levels. Here, we assessed how this species responds to ammonium under such conditions by isolating and analyzing the functions of a putative ammonium transporter (PutAMT1;1). PutAMT1;1 is the first member of the AMT1 (ammonium transporter) family that has been identified in P. tenuiflora. This gene (1) functionally complemented a yeast mutant deficient in ammonium uptake (2), is preferentially expressed in the anther of P. tenuiflora, and (3) is significantly upregulated by ammonium ions in both the shoot and roots. The PutAMT1;1 protein is localized in the plasma membrane and around the nuclear periphery in yeast cells and P. tenuiflora suspension cells. Immunoelectron microscopy analysis also indicated that PutAMT1;1 is localized in the endomembrane. The overexpression of PutAMT1;1 in A. thaliana enhanced plant growth, and increased plant susceptibility to toxic methylammonium (MeA). Here, we confirmed that PutAMT1;1 is an ammonium-inducible ammonium transporter in P. tenuiflora. On the basis of the results of PutAMT1;1 overexpression in A. thaliana, this gene might be useful for improving the root to shoot mobilization of MeA (or NH4(+)).
Project description:A higher plant homologue to the high-affinity phosphate transporter gene of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) PHO84 was isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana. Expression of the Arabidopsis gene PHT1 at high levels in tobacco-cultured cells increased the rate of phosphate uptake. The uptake activity attributable to the transgene was inhibited by protonophores, suggesting an H+ cotransport mechanism of phosphate uptake, and had a Km of 3.1 microM which is within limits characteristic of high-affinity transport mechanisms. These results indicate that PHT1 encodes a high-affinity phosphate transporter. The transgenic cells exhibited increased biomass production when the supply of phosphate was limited, establishing gene engineering of phosphate transport as one approach toward enhancing plant cell growth.
Project description:Arginine methylation of non-histone proteins by protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) has been shown to be important for various biological processes from yeast to human. Although PRMT genes are well conserved in fungi, none of them have been functionally characterized in plant pathogenic ascomycetes. In this study, we identified and characterized all of the four predicted PRMT genes in Fusarium graminearum, the causal agent of Fusarium head blight of wheat and barley. Whereas deletion of the other three PRMT genes had no obvious phenotypes, the ?amt1 mutant had pleiotropic defects. AMT1 is a predicted type I PRMT gene that is orthologous to HMT1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The ?amt1 mutant was slightly reduced in vegetative growth but normal in asexual and sexual reproduction. It had increased sensitivities to oxidative and membrane stresses. DON mycotoxin production and virulence on flowering wheat heads also were reduced in the ?amt1 mutant. The introduction of the wild-type AMT1 allele fully complemented the defects of the ?amt1 mutant and Amt1-GFP fusion proteins mainly localized to the nucleus. Hrp1 and Nab2 are two hnRNPs in yeast that are methylated by Hmt1 for nuclear export. In F. graminearum, AMT1 is required for the nuclear export of FgHrp1 but not FgNab2, indicating that yeast and F. graminearum differ in the methylation and nucleo-cytoplasmic transport of hnRNP components. Because AMT2 also is a predicted type I PRMT with limited homology to yeast HMT1, we generated the ?amt1 ?amt2 double mutants. The ?amt1 single and ?amt1 ?amt2 double mutants had similar defects in all the phenotypes assayed, including reduced vegetative growth and virulence. Overall, data from this systematic analysis of PRMT genes suggest that AMT1, like its ortholog in yeast, is the predominant PRMT gene in F. graminearum and plays a role in hyphal growth, stress responses, and plant infection.
Project description:AMT1-3 encodes the high affinity NH?? transporter in rice roots and is predominantly expressed under nitrogen starvation. In order to evaluate the effect of AMT1-3 gene on rice growth, nitrogen absorption and metabolism, we generated AMT1-3-overexpressing plants and analyzed the growth phenotype, yield, carbon and nitrogen metabolic status, and gene expression profiles. Although AMT1-3 mRNA accumulated in transgenic plants, these plants displayed significant decreases in growth when compared to the wild-type plants. The nitrogen uptake assay using a 15N tracer revealed poor nitrogen uptake ability in AMT1-3-overexpressing plants. We found significant decreases in AMT1-3-overexpressing plant leaf carbon and nitrogen content accompanied with a higher leaf C/N ratio. Significant changes in soluble proteins and carbohydrates were also observed in AMT1-3-overexpressing plants. In addition, metabolite profile analysis demonstrated significant changes in individual sugars, organic acids and free amino acids. Gene expression analysis revealed distinct expression patterns of genes that participate in carbon and nitrogen metabolism. Additionally, the correlation between the metabolites and gene expression patterns was consistent in AMT1-3-overexpressing plants under both low and high nitrogen growth conditions. Therefore, we hypothesized that the carbon and nitrogen metabolic imbalance caused by AMT1-3 overexpressing attributed to the poor growth and yield of transgenic plants.
Project description:The conserved family of AMT/Rh proteins facilitates ammonium transport across animal, plant, and microbial membranes. A bacterial homologue, AmtB, forms a channel-like structure and appears to function as an NH3 gas channel. To evaluate the function of eukaryotic homologues, the human RhCG glycoprotein and the tomato plant ammonium transporter LeAMT1;2 were expressed and compared in Xenopus oocytes and yeast. RhCG mediated the electroneutral transport of methylammonium (MeA), which saturated with Km = 3.8 mM at pHo 7.5. Uptake was strongly favored by increasing the pHo and was inhibited by ammonium. Ammonium induced rapid cytosolic alkalinization in RhCG-expressing oocytes. Additionally, RhCG expression was associated with an alkali-cation conductance, which was not significantly permeable to NH4+ and was apparently uncoupled from the ammonium transport. In contrast, expression of the homologous LeAMT1;2 induced pHo-independent MeA+ uptake and specific NH4+ and MeA+ currents that were distinct from endogenous currents. The different mechanisms of transport, including the RhCG-associated alkali-cation conductance, were verified by heterologous expression in appropriate yeast strains. Thus, homologous AMT/Rh-type proteins function in a distinct manner; while LeAMT1;2 carries specifically NH4+, or cotransports NH3/H+, RhCG mediates electroneutral NH3 transport.
Project description:Pollen represents an important nitrogen sink in flowers to ensure pollen viability. Since pollen cells are symplasmically isolated during maturation and germination, membrane transporters are required for nitrogen import across the pollen plasma membrane. This study describes the characterization of the ammonium transporter AtAMT1;4, a so far uncharacterized member of the Arabidopsis AMT1 family, which is suggested to be involved in transporting ammonium into pollen. The AtAMT1;4 gene encodes a functional ammonium transporter when heterologously expressed in yeast or when overexpressed in Arabidopsis roots. Concentration-dependent analysis of (15)N-labeled ammonium influx into roots of AtAMT1;4-transformed plants allowed characterization of AtAMT1;4 as a high-affinity transporter with a K(m) of 17 microM. RNA and protein gel blot analysis showed expression of AtAMT1;4 in flowers, and promoter-gene fusions to the green fluorescent protein (GFP) further defined its exclusive expression in pollen grains and pollen tubes. The AtAMT1;4 protein appeared to be localized to the plasma membrane as indicated by protein gel blot analysis of plasma membrane-enriched membrane fractions and by visualization of GFP-tagged AtAMT1;4 protein in pollen grains and pollen tubes. However, no phenotype related to pollen function could be observed in a transposon-tagged line, in which AtAMT1;4 expression is disrupted. These results suggest that AtAMT1;4 mediates ammonium uptake across the plasma membrane of pollen to contribute to nitrogen nutrition of pollen via ammonium uptake or retrieval.
Project description:Recently, microbe-plant interactions at the above-ground parts have attracted great attention. Here we describe nitrogen metabolism and regulation of autophagy in the methylotrophic yeast Candida boidinii, proliferating and surviving on the leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana. After quantitative analyses of yeast growth on the leaves of A. thaliana with the wild-type and several mutant yeast strains, we showed that on young leaves, nitrate reductase (Ynr1) was necessary for yeast proliferation, and the yeast utilized nitrate as nitrogen source. On the other hand, a newly developed methylamine sensor revealed appearance of methylamine on older leaves, and methylamine metabolism was induced in C. boidinii, and Ynr1 was subjected to degradation. Biochemical and microscopic analysis of Ynr1 in vitro during a shift of nitrogen source from nitrate to methylamine revealed that Ynr1 was transported to the vacuole being the cargo for biosynthetic cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting (Cvt) pathway, and degraded. Our results reveal changes in the nitrogen source composition for phyllospheric yeasts during plant aging, and subsequent adaptation of the yeasts to this environmental change mediated by regulation of autophagy.
Project description:In plants, nutrient transporters require tight regulation to ensure optimal uptake in complex environments. The activities of many nutrient transporters are post-translationally regulated by reversible phosphorylation, allowing rapid adaptation to variable environmental conditions. Here, we show that the Arabidopsis root epidermis-expressed ammonium transporter AtAMT1;3 was dynamically (de-)phosphorylated at multiple sites in the cytosolic C-terminal region (CTR) responding to ammonium and nitrate signals. Under ammonium resupply rapid phosphorylation of a Thr residue (T464) in the conserved part of the CTR (CTRC) effectively inhibited AtAMT1;3-dependent NH4+ uptake. Moreover, phosphorylation of Thr (T494), one of three phosphorylation sites in the non-conserved part of the CTR (CRTNC), moderately decreased the NH4+ transport activity of AtAMT1;3, as deduced from functional analysis of phospho-mimic mutants in yeast, oocytes, and transgenic Arabidopsis. Double phospho-mutants indicated a role of T494 in fine-tuning the NH4+ transport activity when T464 was non-phosphorylated. Transient dephosphorylation of T494 with nitrate resupply closely paralleled a transient increase in ammonium uptake. These results suggest that T464 phosphorylation at the CTRC acts as a prime switch to prevent excess ammonium influx, while T494 phosphorylation at the CTRNC fine tunes ammonium uptake in response to nitrate. This provides a sophisticated regulatory mechanism for plant ammonium transporters to achieve optimal ammonium uptake in response to various nitrogen forms.
Project description:Trichoderma spp., are saprophytic fungi that can improve plant growth through increased nutrient acquisition and change in the root architecture. In the present study, we demonstrate that Trichoderma asperellum T42 mediate enhancement in host biomass, total nitrogen content, nitric oxide (NO) production and cytosolic Ca2+ accumulation in tobacco. T42 inoculation enhanced lateral root, root hair length, root hair density and root/shoot dry mass in tobacco under deprived nutrients condition. Interestingly, these growth attributes were further elevated in presence of T42 and supplementation of NO3- and NH4+ nutrients to tobacco at 40 and 70 days, particularly in NO3- supplementation, whereas no significant increment was observed in nia30 mutant. In addition, NO production was more in tobacco roots in T42 inoculated plants fed with NO3- nutrient confirming NO generation was dependent on NR pathway. NO3- dependent NO production contributed to increase in lateral root initiation, Ca2+ accumulation and activities of nitrate transporters (NRTs) in tobacco. Higher activities of several NRT genes in response to T42 and N nutrients and suppression of ammonium transporter (AMT1) suggested that induction of high affinity NRTs help NO3- acquisition through roots of tobacco. Among the NRTs NRT2.1 and NRT2.2 were more up-regulated compared to the other NRTs. Addition of sodium nitroprusside (SNP), relative to those supplied with NO3-/NH4+ nutrition and T42 treated plants singly, and with application of NO inhibitor, cPTIO, confirmed the altered NO fluorescence intensity in tobacco roots. Our findings suggest that T42 promoted plant growth significantly ant N content in the tobacco plants grown under N nutrients, notably higher in NO3-, providing insight of the strategy for not only tobacco but probably for other crops as well to adapt to fluctuating nitrate availability in soil.
Project description:To study amino acid transport in plants at the molecular level, we have isolated an amino acid permease cDNA from Arabidopsis thaliana by complementation of a yeast mutant defective in proline uptake with a cDNA. The predicted polypeptide of 53 kDa is highly hydrophobic with 12 putative membrane-spanning regions and shows no significant homologies to other known transporters. Expression of the cDNA enables the yeast mutant to take up L-[14C]proline. Competition studies argue for a broad but stereospecific substrate recognition by the permease, which resembles neutral or general amino acid transport systems from Chlorella and higher plants. Both pH dependence and inhibition by protonophores are consistent with a proton symport mechanism.