Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2020, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (2): 228-239.DOI: 10.11983/CBB19113

• SPECIAL TOPICS • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Nitrogen Utilization Mechanism in C3 and C4 Plants

Lu Zhang1,2,Xinhua He2,3,*()   

  1. 1 Maize Research Institute of Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Xinzhou 034000, China
    2 College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China
    3 School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth 6009, Australia
  • Received:2019-06-24 Accepted:2019-12-29 Online:2020-03-01 Published:2020-02-12
  • Contact: Xinhua He

Abstract: Improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of plants is not only an important approach to ensure global food security, but also to achieve sustainable agricultural development. In the past half century, great progress has been made in the study of nitrogen utilization mechanism, but the regulatory mechanism of NUE is not clear and the improvement of NUE is still extremely limited. Photosynthetic carbon assimilation and nitrogen assimilation are integrated in a plant, and only by coordinating carbon and nitrogen metabolism can the carbon/nitrogen balance be maintained and the normal growth and development of plants be regulated. Due to the differences in the photosynthetic nitrogen utilization rate (PNUE) between C3 and C4 plants, there will also be differences in the utilization efficiency of nitrogen. In order to improve crop NUE, it is necessary to understand the functions and regulatory mechanisms of key factors involved in nitrogen absorption, transport, assimilation and signal transduction of C3 and C4 plants. In addition, studies on carbon and nitrogen assimilation and their mechanisms under the conditions of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and global warming should not be ignored. This paper reviews the differences of key factors on nitrogen use between C3 and C4 plants and the regulatory mechanisms, and proposes possible ways to improve NUE of C3 crops by using genetic approaches.

Key words: photosynthesis, nitrogen metabolism, nitrogen use efficiency, regulatory mechanisms, genetic improvement