STOP1-NRT1.1: a new module to optimize nitrogen and growth in acidic media for plants (Plant Cell)

Acidic soils often negatively impact plant growth, yet the application of fertilizers containing urea or ammonia have the effect of acidifying soils. In a recent paper, Ye and colleagues investigated how nitrate uptake through the nitrate transporter NITRATE TRANSPORTER 1.1 (NRT1.1) can mitigate some of the effects of acidic soil. The key players in their study are NRT1.1 and the C2H2-type zinc finger transcription factor SENSITIVE TO PROTON RHIZOTOXICITY1 (STOP1). When the acidity of the soil rises, STOP1 accumulates in the nucleus where it binds to the NRT1.1 promoter and induces higher expression of NRT1.1. Because both nitrate and protons are take up together via NRT1.1, its upregulation leads to a decrease in root-adjacent soil proton levels and thus acidity. The authors are currently trying to understand how plant recycles the protons that are taken up from the cytoplasm, and the answer should lead us to another fascinating tale in understanding plant behavior. (Summary by Sibaji K Sanyal @sibajisanyal ) Plant Cell 10.1093/plcell/koab226