Arabidopsis mutant analysis and gene regulation define a nonredundant role for glutamate dehydrogenase in nitrogen assimilation

Rosana Melo-Oliveira, Igor Cunha Oliveira, Gloria M. Coruzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) is ubiquitous to all organisms, yet its role in higher plants remains enigmatic. To better understand the role of GDH in plant nitrogen metabolism, we have characterized an Arabidopsis mutant (gdh1- 1) defective in one of two GDH gene products and have studied GDH1 gene expression. GDH1 mRNA accumulates to highest levels in dark-adapted or sucrose-starved plants, and light or sucrose treatment each repress GDH1 mRNA accumulation. These results suggest that the GDH1 gene product functions in the direction of glutamate catabolism under carbon-limiting conditions. Low levels of GDH1 mRNA present in leaves of light-grown plants can be induced by exogenously supplied ammonia. Under such conditions of carbon and ammonia excess, GDH1 may function in the direction of glutamate biosynthesis. The Arabidopsis gdh-deficient mutant allele gdh1-1 cosegregates with the GDH1 gene and behaves as a recessive mutation. The gdh1-1 mutant displays a conditional phenotype in that seedling growth is specifically retarded on media containing exogenously supplied inorganic nitrogen. These results suggest that GDH1 plays a nonredundant role in ammonia assimilation under conditions of inorganic nitrogen excess. This notion is further supported by the fact that the levels of mRNA for GDH1 and chloroplastic glutamine synthetase (GS2) are reciprocally regulated by light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4718-4723
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 14 1996


  • ammonia assimilation
  • biochemical genetics
  • gene expression
  • plant mutant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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