Principal investigators:

Francisco J. Ruiz Cantón

Rafael A. Cañas

Nitrogen and Sulphur Nutrition in Plants

Our research focuses on the nutrition and metabolisms of nitrogen and sulfur in plants.

Nitrogen is the most important macronutrient for plants. In soils the most important sources of inorganic nitrogen are ammonium and nitrate. Both act as nutrients but also as signalling molecules that are involved in plant development. At IMBL we are interested in studying the effect of both molecules on the development and growth of conifers [4,5]. We also study nitrogen assimilation [2,3] with special attention to the interaction with C metabolism focused on the influence of atmospheric CO2 level.

Sulphur is a nutrient in whose assimilation the presence of nitrogenated molecules is essential. The amino acid methionine is one of the main fates of sulphur in living organisms. Methionine is used to synthetize S-adenosylmethionine, the most abundant molecule in cells after ATP, the universal donor of methyl groups, precursor of the phytohormone ethylene and various polyamines. At IMBL we are interested in understanding how methionine synthesis is produced and regulated in plants.

Selected References

  1. Valderrama-Martín LM, Ortigosa F, Aledo JC, Ávila C, Cánovas FM, Cañas RA. A new gene encoding a cytosolic glutamine synthetase in pine is linked to developing tissues. bioRxiv. 2022
  2. Marino D, Cañas RA, Betti M. Is plastidic glutamine synthetase essential for C3 plants? A tale of photorespiratory mutants, ammonium tolerance and conifers. New Phytologist. 2022 234(5), 1559-1565. doi: 10.1111/nph.18090.
  3. Valderrama-Martín JM, Ortigosa F, Ávila C, Cánovas FM, Hirel B, Cantón FR, Cañas RA. A revised view on the evolution of glutamine synthetase isoenzymes in plants. The Plant Journal. 2022 110(4), 946-960. doi: 10.1111/tpj.15712.
  4. Ortigosa F, Lobato-Fernández C, Shikano H, Ávila C, Taira S, Cánovas FM, Cañas RA. Ammonium regulates the development of pine roots through hormonal crosstalk and differential expression of transcription factors in the apex. Plant Cell Environ. 2022 45(3), 915-935. doi: 10.1111/pce.14214.
  5. Ortigosa F, Lobato-Fernández C, Pérez-Claros JA, Cantón FR, Ávila C, Cánovas FM, Cañas RA. Epitranscriptome changes triggered by ammonium nutrition regulate the proteome response of maritime pine roots. Frontiers in PLant Science. 13, 1102044. 2022 doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.1102044
  6. Ortigosa F, Valderrama-Martín JM, Urbano-Gámez JA, García-Martín ML, Ávila C, Cánovas FM, Cañas RA. Inorganic Nitrogen Form Determines Nutrient Allocation and Metabolic Responses in Maritime Pine Seedlings. Plants. 2020 9:481. doi: 10.3390/plants9040481.
  7. Cañas RA, Yesbergenova-Cuny Z, Belanger L, Rouster J, Brulé L, Gilard F, Quilleré I, Sallaud C, Hirel B. NADH-GOGAT Overexpression Does Not Improve Maize (Zea mays L.) Performance Even When Pyramiding with NAD-IDH, GDH and GS. Plants. 2020 9:130. doi: 10.3390/plants9020130.
  8. Ortigosa F, Valderrama-Martín JM, Ávila C, Cánovas FM, Cañas RA. Understanding plant nitrogen nutrition through a laboratory experiment. Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2019 47:450-458. doi: 10.1002/bmb.21239.
  9. Van Kerckhoven SH, de la Torre FN, Cañas RA, Avila C, Cantón FR, Cánovas FM. Characterization of Three L-Asparaginases from Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.). Front Plant Sci. 2017 8:1075. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01075.
  10. Cañas RA, Yesbergenova-Cuny Z, Simons M, Chardon F, Armengaud P, Quilleré I, Cukier C, Gibon Y, Limami AM, Nicolas S, Brulé L, Lea PJ, Maranas CD, Hirel B. Exploiting the Genetic Diversity of Maize Using a Combined Metabolomic, Enzyme Activity Profiling, and Metabolic Modeling Approach to Link Leaf Physiology to Kernel Yield. Plant Cell. 2017 29:919-943. doi: 10.1105/tpc.16.00613.