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Crop Biotech Update

Wheat TaNBP1 Gene Regulates Plant Adaption to Nitrogen Starvation

August 15, 2018

Nitrate (NO3) is the major source of nitrogen for higher plants. Improving N use efficiency of crops has been sought after to promote sustainable agriculture. The plant regulation mechanism associated with N uptake and other related processes affect the plants N starvation tolerance. Zhipeng Liu and Yingjia Zhao from the Agricultural University of Hebei in China explored the mechanism underlying nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and the genes that can be used in the molecular breeding of crops.

The team studied the function of TaNBP1, a guanine-binding protein subunit beta gene of wheat (Triticum aestivum), in the plant's N starvation response. The TaNBP1 protein was found to be concentrated at the cytoplasm membrane and the cytosol. TaNBP1 transcripts were upregulated in the roots and leaves during N starvation stress, and this upregulation is altered by N recovery treatment.

TaNBP1 overexpression confers improved phenotype, enlarged root system architecture, and increased biomass for plants during N deprivation compared with wild types, associating with its role in enhancing N accumulation and improving reactive oxygen species homeostasis. The nitrate transporter gene and antioxidant enzyme genes were also regulated by TaNBP1, contributing to improved N acquisition.

This study helps explain the mechanism of plant N starvation responses and would serve as a basis for developing crops with improved NUE under low N conditions.

For more information, read the article in BMC Plant Biology.