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.