Article

Nitrate-responsive miR393/AFB3 regulatory module controls root system architecture in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Departamento de Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago 8331010, Chile.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 02/2010; 107(9):4477-82. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909571107
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT One of the most striking examples of plant developmental plasticity to changing environmental conditions is the modulation of root system architecture (RSA) in response to nitrate supply. Despite the fundamental and applied significance of understanding this process, the molecular mechanisms behind nitrate-regulated changes in developmental programs are still largely unknown. Small RNAs (sRNAs) have emerged as master regulators of gene expression in plants and other organisms. To evaluate the role of sRNAs in the nitrate response, we sequenced sRNAs from control and nitrate-treated Arabidopsis seedlings using the 454 sequencing technology. miR393 was induced by nitrate in these experiments. miR393 targets transcripts that code for a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor and for the auxin receptors TIR1, AFB1, AFB2, and AFB3. However, only AFB3 was regulated by nitrate in roots under our experimental conditions. Analysis of the expression of this miR393/AFB3 module, revealed an incoherent feed-forward mechanism that is induced by nitrate and repressed by N metabolites generated by nitrate reduction and assimilation. To understand the functional role of this N-regulatory module for plant development, we analyzed the RSA response to nitrate in AFB3 insertional mutant plants and in miR393 overexpressors. RSA analysis in these plants revealed that both primary and lateral root growth responses to nitrate were altered. Interestingly, regulation of RSA by nitrate was specifically mediated by AFB3, indicating that miR393/AFB3 is a unique N-responsive module that controls root system architecture in response to external and internal N availability in Arabidopsis.

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