New Insights on Arabidopsis thaliana Root Adaption to Ammonium Nutrition by the Use of a Quantitative Proteomic Approach

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Feb 14;20(4):814. doi: 10.3390/ijms20040814.


Nitrogen is an essential element for plant nutrition. Nitrate and ammonium are the two major inorganic nitrogen forms available for plant growth. Plant preference for one or the other form depends on the interplay between plant genetic background and environmental variables. Ammonium-based fertilization has been shown less environmentally harmful compared to nitrate fertilization, because of reducing, among others, nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions. However, ammonium nutrition may become a stressful situation for a wide range of plant species when the ion is present at high concentrations. Although studied for long time, there is still an important lack of knowledge to explain plant tolerance or sensitivity towards ammonium nutrition. In this context, we performed a comparative proteomic study in roots of Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown under exclusive ammonium or nitrate supply. We identified and quantified 68 proteins with differential abundance between both conditions. These proteins revealed new potential important players on root response to ammonium nutrition, such as H⁺-consuming metabolic pathways to regulate pH homeostasis and specific secondary metabolic pathways like brassinosteroid and glucosinolate biosynthetic pathways.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; ammonium; carbon metabolism; nitrate; nitrogen metabolism; proteomics; root; secondary metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Ammonium Compounds / metabolism
  • Ammonium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Fertilization
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics
  • Nitrates / pharmacology
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / drug effects
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Proteomics*


  • Ammonium Compounds
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrogen