Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2023, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (5): 783-798.DOI: 10.11983/CBB22134

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Research Advances in Elucidating the Function and Molecular Mechanism of the Nitrate Transporter 2 (NRT2) Proteins in Plants

Huang Huimei1, Gao Yongkang1, Tai Yuying1, Liu Chao1, Qu Dejie1, Tang Ruiheng1, Wang Youning2()   

  1. 1. National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
    2. College of Agronomy, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling 712100, China
  • Received:2022-06-28 Accepted:2022-10-24 Online:2023-09-01 Published:2023-09-21
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    † These authors contributed equally to this paper.

Abstract: Nitrogen, the essential macronutrient in plants, plays a critical role in regulating plant growth and development, especially for crops production. To gain high crop yield, a large amount N fertilizer is usually applied to the planting field. However, the excessive use of chemical fertilizers has aggravated the agricultural non-point source pollution (NSP). Increasing crop yield under reduced fertilizer consumption can be achieved by increasing nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), which is crucial for promoting sustainable agriculture and for achieving agriculture and food security. In response to nitrogen-deficiency condition under natural environments, high-affinity nitrate transporter 2 (NRT2) proteins have evolved in plants. Among them, NRT2.1 subfamily acts as the main component of nitrate uptake in roots under conditions of nitrate deficiency. Here we summarize the latest progresses of the function and molecular mechanism of the NRT2 proteins, particularly of the NRT2.1 subfamily in Arabidopsis and several important crops and discuss the future directions of NRT2 research. This review aims to provide an important basis for the subsequent exploration of the potential of NRT2 proteins in increasing crop yield and the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Key words: nitrogen, Nitrate Transporter 2, gene function, molecular mechanism