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Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 76, Issue 19, pp 3753–3764 | Cite as

Evolutionary analyses of NIN-like proteins in plants and their roles in nitrate signaling

  • Xiaohuan Mu
  • Jie LuoEmail author
Review

Abstract

Nitrogen (N) is one of the most important essential macro-elements for plant growth and development, and nitrate represents the most abundant inorganic form of N in soils. The nitrate uptake and assimilation processes are finely tuned according to the available nitrate in the surroundings as well as by the internal finely coordinated signaling pathways. The NIN-like proteins (NLPs) harbor both RWP-RK, and Phox and Bem1 (PB1) domains, and they belong to the well-characterized plant-specific RWP-RK transcription factor gene family. NLPs are known to be involved in the nitrate signaling pathway by activating downstream target genes, and thus they are implicated in the primary nitrate response in the nucleus via their RWP-RK domains. The PB1 domain is a ubiquitous protein–protein interaction domain and it comprises another regulatory layer for NLPs via the protein interactions within NLPs or with other essential components. Recently, Ca2+–Ca2+ sensor protein kinase–NLP signaling cascades have been identified and they allow NLPs to have central roles in mediating the nitrate signaling pathway. NLPs play essential roles in many aspects of plant growth and development via the finely tuned nitrate signaling pathway. Furthermore, recent studies have highlighted the emerging roles played by NLPs in the N starvation response, nodule formation in legumes, N and P interactions, and root cap release in higher plants. In this review, we consider recent advances in the identification, evolution, molecular characteristics, and functions of the NLP gene family in plant growth and development.

Keywords

Interaction NIN-like protein Nodule formation Nitrogen use efficiency Phosphorus Symbiosis 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was financially supported by the Research Start-up Fund for Henan Agricultural Universities (no. 30500487), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (no. 2662017QD001) and Hubei Province Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 2017CFB338). Dr. Duncan Jackson from the United Kingdom is sincerely thanked for correcting the English language in this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

18_2019_3164_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (276 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 275 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, College of AgronomyHenan Agricultural UniversityZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences, Hubei Engineering Technology Research Center for Forestry InformationHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina

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