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Expression of two maize putative nitrate transporters in response to nitrate and sugar availability


  • Editor
    M. Hawkesford

M. Malagoli, Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, University of Padova, Agripolis, Viale dell’Università, 16, 35020 Legnaro (Padova), Italy.


A full-length cDNA encoding a putative high-affinity nitrate transporter (ZmNrt2.2) from maize was isolated and characterised, together with another previously identified transporter (ZmNrt2.1), in terms of phylogenesis, protein structure prediction and regulation of transcript accumulation in response to nitrate and sugar availability. The expression of both genes was evaluated by quantitative and semi-quantitative RT-PCR in response to nitrate and sugar supply and the in planta localisation of mRNA was studied by in situ hybridisation. Data obtained suggested similar genetic evolution and identical transmembrane structure prediction between the two deduced proteins, and differences in both regulation of their expression and mRNA localisation in response to nitrate, leading us to hypothesise a principal role for ZmNRT2.1 in the influx activity and the major involvement of ZmNRT2.2 in the xylem loading process. Our data suggest opposing sugar regulation by ZmNrt2.1 and ZmNrt2.2 transcription in the presence or absence of nitrate and the existence of both hexokinase-dependent and hexokinase-independent transduction mechanisms for the regulation of ZmNrt2.1 and ZmNrt2.2 expression by sugars.