Researchers led by those from the National Centre of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru (NCBS-TIFR), have found a new pathway that regulates nitrate absorption in plants.
- The gene MADS27, which regulates nitrate absorption, root development and stress tolerance, is activated by the micro-RNA, miR444, therefore offers a way to control these properties of the plant.
- The researchers studied this mechanism in both rice (monocot) and tobacco (dicot) plants. The research is published in Journal of Experimental Botany.
Role of Nitrates –
- Nitrogen is one of the most important macronutrients needed for development of a plant. It is a part of chlorophyll, amino acids and nucleic acids, among others. It is mostly sourced from the soil where it is mainly absorbed in the form of nitrates and ammonium by the roots.
- Nitrates also play a role in controlling genome-wide gene expression that in turn regulates root system architecture, flowering time, leaf development, etc.
- Thus, while a lot of action takes place in the roots to absorb and convert nitrogen into useful nitrates, the absorbed nitrates in turn regulate plant development apart from being useful as a macronutrient.