Biotech Updates

Researchers Identify Plant Mechanism that Control Nitrogen Utilization

May 15, 2013

A research team led by Associate Professor Shuichi Yanagisawa in the Laboratory of Plant Functional Biotechnology at the Biotechnology Research Center of the University of Tokyo demonstrated that NIN-like transcription factors play a central role in the regulation of nitrate-inducible events in plants. The researchers found that nitrate signaling activates NIN-like transcription factors, and the activated factors then promote the expression of a number of nitrate-inducible genes. Hence, NIN-like transcription factors function as key regulators of the nitrogen utilization mechanism.

In plants, nitrate is not only a major nitrogen source but also a signalling molecule that modulates the expression of a wide range of genes and regulates growth and development. The critical role of nitrate as a signalling molecule has been established for several decades. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the nitrate response have remained elusive, as the transcription factor that primarily responds to nitrate signals has not yet been identified until recently.

View the University of Tokyo's news release at