The Control Of Zealactone Biosynthesis And Exudation Is Involved In The Response To Nitrogen In Maize Root
Nitrate acts as a signal in regulating plant development in response to environment. In particular nitric oxide, auxin and strigolactones (SLs) were supposed to cooperate to regulate the maize root response to this anion. In this study, a combined approach based on liquid chromatography-quadrupole/time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry and on physiological and molecular analyses was adopted to specify the involvement of SLs in the maize response to N. Our results showed that N deficiency strongly induces SL exudation, likely through stimulating their biosynthesis. Nitrate provision early counteracts and also ammonium lowers SL exudation, but less markedly. Exudates obtained from N-starved and ammonium-provided seedlings stimulated Phelipanche germination, whereas when seeds were treated with exudates harvested from nitrate-provided plants no germination was observed. Furthermore, our findings support the idea that the inhibition of SL production observed in response to nitrate and ammonium would contribute to the regulation of lateral root development. Moreover, the transcriptional regulation of a gene encoding a putative maize WBC transporter, in response to various nitrogen supplies, together with its mRNA tissue localization, supported its role in SL allocation. Our results highlight the dual role of SLs as molecules able to signal outwards a nutritional need and as endogenous regulators of root architecture adjustments to N, thus synchronizing plant growth with nitrogen acquisition.