Reduced atmospheric CO2 affects nitrogen mobilisation in Festuca rubra

Barry Thornton, Eric Paterson, Alison Helen Kingston-Smith, Shona M. Pratt, Allan Sim

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7 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

In defoliated grasses, where photosynthesis is reduced due to removal of leaf material, it is well established that remobilization of nitrogen occurs from both older remaining leaves and roots towards the younger growing leaves. In contrast, little is known about the movement of nitrogen within intact grass plants experiencing prolonged inhibition of photosynthesis. We tested the following hypotheses in Festuca rubra L. ssp. rubra cv. Boreal: that both reduction of the atmospheric CO2 concentration and defoliation (1) induce mobilization of nitrogen from roots and older leaves towards growing leaves and (2) elicit similar directional change in the abundance of proteins in roots and older leaves relevant to the process of nitrogen mobilization including, glutamine synthetase (GS), EC 6.3.1.2; papain, EC 3.4.22.2; chymopapain, EC 3.4.22.6; ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), EC 4.1.1.39; and the light harvesting complex of photosystem II (LHCPII). After growth at ambient atmospheric CO2 concentration, plants of F. rubra were subject to atmospheres containing either ambient (350 µl l−1) or deplete (<20 µl l−1) CO2. Concurrently, plants were either left intact or defoliated on one occasion. Steady state 15N labelling coupled with a series of destructive harvests over a 7-day period enabled changes in the nitrogen dynamics of the plants to be established. Proteins pertinent to the process of nitrogen mobilization were quantified by immunoblotting. Irrespective of defoliation, plants in ambient CO2 mobilized nitrogen from older to growing leaves. This mobilization was inhibited by deplete CO2. Greater concentration of Rubisco and reduced chymopapain abundance in older remaining leaves of intact plants, in deplete compared with ambient CO2, suggested the inhibition of mobilization was due to inhibition of protein degradation, rather than to the export of degradation products. Both deplete CO2 and defoliation induced nitrogen mobilization from roots to growing leaves. In plants at ambient CO2, defoliation did not affect nitrogen uptake or its allocation. Therefore in F. rubra nitrogen mobilization can occur independently of any downregulation of nitrogen uptake. This suggests either different signal compounds may act to downregulate uptake and upregulate mobilization, or if one particular signalling compound is used its concentration threshold differs for induction of mobilization and downregulation of uptake. The abundance of the cysteine proteases papain and chymopapain was low in roots suggesting that they were not involved in protein degradation in this tissue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-72
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Volume116
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 04 Sept 2002

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