GARP transcription factors repress Arabidopsis nitrogen starvation response via ROS-dependent and -independent pathways

Alaeddine Safi, Anna Medici, Wojciech Szponarski, Florence Martin, Anne Clément-Vidal, Amy Marshall-Colon, Sandrine Ruffel, Frédéric Gaymard, Hatem Rouached, Julie Leclercq, Gloria Coruzzi, Benoît Lacombe, Gabriel Krouk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plants need to cope with strong variations of nitrogen availability in the soil. Although many molecular players are being discovered concerning how plants perceive NO3- provision, it is less clear how plants recognize a lack of nitrogen. Following nitrogen removal, plants activate their nitrogen starvation response (NSR), which is characterized by the activation of very high-affinity nitrate transport systems (NRT2.4 and NRT2.5) and other sentinel genes involved in N remobilization such as GDH3. Using a combination of functional genomics via transcription factor perturbation and molecular physiology studies, we show that the transcription factors belonging to the HHO subfamily are important regulators of NSR through two potential mechanisms. First, HHOs directly repress the high-affinity nitrate transporters, NRT2.4 and NRT2.5. hho mutants display increased high-affinity nitrate transport activity, opening up promising perspectives for biotechnological applications. Second, we show that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are important to control NSR in wild-type plants and that HRS1 and HHO1 overexpressors and mutants are affected in their ROS content, defining a potential feed-forward branch of the signaling pathway. Taken together, our results define the relationships of two types of molecular players controlling the NSR, namely ROS and the HHO transcription factors. This work (i) up opens perspectives on a poorly understood nutrient-related signaling pathway and (ii) defines targets for molecular breeding of plants with enhanced NO3- uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3881-3901
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 4 2021


  • Cell sorting
  • GARP transcription factors
  • ROS
  • nitrogen starvation response
  • plant growth
  • root nitrate uptake
  • root protoplasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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