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An updated model for nitrate uptake modelling in plants. I. Functional component: cross-combination of flow–force interpretation of nitrate uptake isotherms, and environmental and in planta regulation of nitrate influx

Le Deunff, Erwan, Malagoli, Philippe
Annals of botany 2014 v.113 no.6 pp. 991-1005
Brassica napus var. napus, electrochemistry, ion transport, models, nitrates, roots, transporters
Background and Aims In spite of major breakthroughs in the last three decades in the identification of root nitrate uptake transporters in plants and the associated regulation of nitrate transport activities, a simplified and operational modelling approach for nitrate uptake is still lacking. This is due mainly to the difficulty in linking the various regulations of nitrate transport that act at different levels of time and on different spatial scales. Methods A cross-combination of a Flow–Force approach applied to nitrate influx isotherms and experimentally determined environmental and in planta regulation is used to model nitrate in oilseed rape, Brassica napus . In contrast to ‘Enzyme–Substrate’ interpretations, a Flow–Force modelling approach considers the root as a single catalytic structure and does not infer hypothetical cellular processes among nitrate transporter activities across cellular layers in the mature roots. In addition, this approach accounts for the driving force on ion transport based on the gradient of electrochemical potential, which is more appropriate from a thermodynamic viewpoint. Key Results and Conclusions Use of a Flow–Force formalism on nitrate influx isotherms leads to the development of a new conceptual mechanistic basis to model more accurately N uptake by a winter oilseed rape crop under field conditions during the whole growth cycle. This forms the functional component of a proposed new structure–function mechanistic model of N uptake.