Nitric oxide-fixation by non-symbiotic haemoglobin proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana under N-limited conditions

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  • Gitto Thomas Kuruthukulangarakoola, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology.
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  • Jiangli Zhang, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology.
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  • Andreas Albert, Research Unit Environmental Simulation.
  • ,
  • Barbro Winkler, Research Unit Environmental Simulation.
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  • Hans Lang, Research Unit Environmental Simulation.
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  • Franz Buegger, State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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  • Frank Gaupels, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology.
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  • Werner Heller, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology.
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  • Bernhard Michalke, Research Unit Analytical Biogeochemistry.
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  • Hakan Sarioglu, Research Unit Protein Sciences, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstrasse 1, 85764, Neuherberg/Munich, Germany.
  • ,
  • Jörg-Peter Schnitzler, Research Unit Environmental Simulation.
  • ,
  • Kim Hebelstrup
  • Jörg Durner, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology.
  • ,
  • Christian Lindermayr, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology.

Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signalling molecule that is involved in many different physiological processes in plants. Here, we report about a NO-fixing mechanism in Arabidopsis, which allows the fixation of atmospheric NO into nitrogen metabolism. We fumigated Arabidopsis plants cultivated in soil or as hydroponic cultures during the whole growing period with up to 3 ppmv of NO gas. Transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic analyses were used to identify non-symbiotic haemoglobin proteins as key components of the NO-fixing process. Overexpressing non-symbiotic haemoglobin 1 or 2 genes resulted in fourfold higher nitrate levels in these plants compared with NO-treated wild-type. Correspondingly, rosettes size and weight, vegetative shoot thickness and seed yield were 25, 40, 30, and 50% higher, respectively, than in wild-type plants. Fumigation with 250 ppbv (15) NO confirmed the importance of non-symbiotic haemoglobin 1 and 2 for the NO-fixation pathway, and we calculated a daily uptake for non-symbiotic haemoglobin 2 overexpressing plants of 250 mg N/kg dry weight. This mechanism is probably important under conditions with limited N supply via the soil. Moreover, the plant-based NO uptake lowers the concentration of insanitary atmospheric NOx, and in this context, NO-fixation can be beneficial to air quality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Pages (from-to)36-50
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

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