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Changes in nitrogen availability lead to a reprogramming of pyruvate metabolism

Fataftah, Nazeer, Mohr, Christina, Hajirezaei, Mohammad-Reza, Wirén, Nicolaus von, Humbeck, Klaus
BMC plant biology 2018 v.18 no.1 pp. 77
amino acids, barley, cell walls, genes, glycolysis, leaves, lipids, metabolites, nitrogen, photosynthesis, plant growth, plant hormones, pyruvate dehydrogenase (lipoamide), pyruvate kinase, pyruvate phosphate dikinase, pyruvic acid, sugars, transcription (genetics), transcription factors, transcriptomics, tricarboxylic acid cycle
BACKGROUND: Low availability of nitrogen (N) severely affects plant growth at different levels, which can be reverted by the resupply of N. To unravel the critical steps in primary metabolism underlying the growth adjustment in response to changes in N availability, transcriptomic and comprehensive metabolite analyses were performed in barley using primary leaves at early and later stages of N deprivation, and after N resupply to N-deficient plants. RESULT: N deficiency in leaves caused differential regulation of 1947 genes, mostly belonging to the functional classes photosynthesis, cell wall degradation, lipid degradation, amino acid degradation, transcription factors, phytohormone metabolism and receptor-like kinases. Interestingly, 62% of the genes responding to low N were regulated in the opposite direction after two days of N resupply. Reprogramming of gene transcription was linked to metabolic rearrangements and affected the metabolism of amino acids and sugars. The levels of major amino acids, including Glu, Asp, Ser, Gln, Gly, Thr, Ala, and Val, decreased during primary leaf age and, more pronounced, during low N-induced senescence, which was efficiently reverted after resupply of N. A significant decrease was observed for pyruvate and metabolites involved in the TCA cycle under low N, and this was reverted to initial levels after 5 days of N resupply. Correspondingly, transcript levels of genes coding for pyruvate kinase, pyruvate dehydrogenase, and pyruvate orthophosphate dikinase followed the same trend as related metabolites. CONCLUSION: Our results show that upon N limitation a specific pathway for remobilization at the link between glycolysis and TCA cycle in barley is established that is at least partly regulated by a strict reprogramming of the gene coding for pyruvate orthophosphate dikinase. Further analysis of this pathway, its regulatory levels and biochemical changing of pyruvate metabolism enzymes in response to N availability is needed to determine the link between N status and primary metabolism.