Low temperature induces expression of nitrate reductase in tomato that temporarily overrides circadian regulation of activity

Dawn E. Tucker, Donald R. Ort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Overnight low-temperature exposure inhibits photosynthesis in chilling-sensitive species, such as tomato and cucumber, by as much as 60%. Earlier work showed that low temperature stalled the endogenous rhythm controlling transcription of certain nuclear-encoded genes in chilling-sensitive plants causing the synthesis of the corresponding transcripts and proteins to be mistimed upon rewarming. The activity of nitrate reductase (NR), the first and rate-limiting step in the assimilation of nitrate into amino acids in leaves, is subjected to a varied range of regulatory influences including a robust circadian rhythm. We show here that although NR regulation is disrupted by low temperatures, the change is transient and does not alter the phase of the NR endogenous rhythm following the chill. There is a temporary induction of de novo transcription of NR causing an increase in both NR protein and activity. This occurs regardless of the time in the circadian cycle that the chilling episode is initiated thereby decoupling the normally closely coordinated processes of carbon and nitrogen assimilation. This decoupling would be expected to deplete cellular reductant and carbon skeleton reserves as well as allow accumulation of cytotoxic intermediates of nitrogen assimilation thereby contributing to the low temperature induced disruption of metabolism that takes place in photosynthetic cells of chilling sensitive plant species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalPhotosynthesis research
Volume72
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Chilling
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Lycopersicon esculentum
  • Nitrogen metabolism
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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