Monday, June 13, 2016

Increasing Rice Yields


Proteins regulate how plants, such as rice, maintain a health acidity (pH) while absorbing nitrogen from various forms such as ammonium nitrate.  A protein is useful to provide buffering to the plant cells; manipulation of the levels of a specific protein can have a very beneficial effect on rice yields.

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Significant progress has been made in our understanding of plant adaptive responses to maintain cellular pH under varied N supply forms. Rice is a plant adapted to grow in waterlogged or dryland environments, in contrast to other crops, such as wheat, soybean, and maize. The nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3b provides a molecular mechanism explaining plant adaptation to the ammonium-nitrate supply shift between the waterlogged and drained soil environments. The sensing of cytosolic pH by OsNRT2.3b can function to improve rice nitrogen use efficiency and pH balance, providing an explanation for plant adaptation to changes in the form of N supply.


…In this study, we analyzed the function of a nitrate transporter, OsNRT2.3, with natural variation of its expression in rice cultivars and the cytosolic pH regulatory motif in the protein. The high expression of one of the two splice forms of this protein, OsNRT2.3b, in rice resulted in better adaptation to changes of N supply forms in the environment and strong improvements in growth, yield, and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Our results have significant implications for the understanding of cytosolic pH balance in plant adaptation and its importance for crop improvement.

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