A systems view of nitrogen nutrient and metabolite responses in Arabidopsis

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Oct;11(5):521-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.07.003. Epub 2008 Sep 3.


Nitrogen (N) is an essential macronutrient available to plants mainly as nitrate in agricultural soils. Besides its role as a nutrient, inorganic and organic N sources play key roles as signals that control genome-wide gene expression in Arabidopsis and other plant species. Genomics approaches have provided us with thousands of genes whose expression is modulated in response to N treatments in Arabidopsis. Recently, systems approaches have been utilized to map the complex molecular network that plants utilize to integrate metabolic, cellular, and developmental processes to successfully adapt to changing N availability. The challenge now is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying N regulation of gene networks and bridge the gap between N sensing, signaling, and downstream physiological and developmental changes. We discuss recent advances in this direction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Nitrates / pharmacology
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen / pharmacology
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / drug effects
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Systems Biology


  • Nitrates
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Nitrogen