Nitrate and ammonium lead to distinct global dynamic phosphorylation patterns when resupplied to nitrogen-starved Arabidopsis seedlings

Plant J. 2012 Mar;69(6):978-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04848.x. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


Nitrogen is an essential macronutrient for plant growth and development. Inorganic nitrogen and its assimilation products control various metabolic, physiological and developmental processes. Although the transcriptional responses induced by nitrogen have been extensively studied in the past, our work here focused on the discovery of candidate proteins for regulatory events that are complementary to transcriptional changes. Most signaling pathways involve modulation of protein abundance and/or activity by protein phosphorylation. Therefore, we analyzed the dynamic changes in protein phosphorylation in membrane and soluble proteins from plants exposed to rapid changes in nutrient availability over a time course of 30 min. Plants were starved of nitrogen and subsequently resupplied with nitrogen in the form of nitrate or ammonium. Proteins with maximum change in their phosphorylation level at up to 5 min after nitrogen resupply (fast responses) included GPI-anchored proteins, receptor kinases and transcription factors, while proteins with maximum change in their phosphorylation level after 10 min of nitrogen resupply (late responses) included proteins involved in protein synthesis and degradation, as well as proteins with functions in central metabolism and hormone metabolism. Resupply of nitrogen in the form of nitrate or ammonium resulted in distinct phosphorylation patterns, mainly of proteins with signaling functions, transcription factors and transporters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Computational Biology
  • Culture Media / metabolism
  • Genes, Plant
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Nitrates / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Phosphopeptides / genetics
  • Phosphopeptides / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Potassium Compounds / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Solubility
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Culture Media
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nitrates
  • Phosphopeptides
  • Potassium Compounds
  • Transcription Factors
  • Nitrogen
  • potassium nitrate
  • ammonium nitrate