Nitrate Induction of Primary Root Growth Requires Cytokinin Signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana

Pamela A. Naulin, Grace I. Armijo, Andrea S. Vega, Karem P. Tamayo, Diana E. Gras, Javiera De La Cruz, Rodrigo A. Gutiérrez

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34 Scopus citations


Nitrate can act as a potent signal to control growth and development in plants. In this study, we show that nitrate is able to stimulate primary root growth via increased meristem activity and cytokinin signaling. Cytokinin perception and biosynthesis mutants displayed shorter roots as compared with wild-type plants when grown with nitrate as the only nitrogen source. Histological analysis of the root tip revealed decreased cell division and elongation in the cytokinin receptor double mutant ahk2/ahk4 as compared with wild-type plants under a sufficient nitrate regime. Interestingly, a nitrate-dependent root growth arrest was observed between days 5 and 6 after sowing. Wild-type plants were able to recover from this growth arrest, while cytokinin signaling or biosynthesis mutants were not. Transcriptome analysis revealed significant changes in gene expression after, but not before, this transition in contrasting genotypes and nitrate regimes. We identified genes involved in both cell division and elongation as potentially important for primary root growth in response to nitrate. Our results provide evidence linking nitrate and cytokinin signaling for the control of primary root growth in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-352
Number of pages11
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Cytokinin
  • Nitrate
  • Primary root growth


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