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Nitrogen Use, Transport and signaling
 research groups

Keywords : Nitrate/nitrite transporters, N starvation, NRT2 family, NIN-Like-Proteins, PII protein, Multistress, Arabidopsis, Brachypodium

Doctoral school affiliation : ED 567 Sciences du végétal

Contacts :

Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, UMR1318 INRA-AgroParisTech-ERL3559 CNRS
Bâtiment 3
Bâtiment 3
INRA Centre de Versailles-Grignon
Route de St-Cyr (RD10)
78026 Versailles Cedex France

tél : +33 (0)1 30 83 36 56 - fax : +33 (0)1 30 83 33 19

Group Leader
Anne Krapp
Senior Scientist


Anne-Sophie Leprince
Assistant Professor UPMC


Thomas Girin
Research Scientist


Virginie Bréhaut

Isabelle Jéhanno

Céline Forzani


Mickaël Durand




Élie Fernandez

Assistant Engineer



Co-Group Leader
Christian Meyer
Senior Scientist


Sylvie Ferrario-Méry
Research Scientist

Zsolt Kelemen

Patrick Berquin

Gustavo Turqueto-Duarte



Mathilde Grégoire

PhD Student


Camille Ingargiola
PhD Student




Summary :

Plants are often exposed to changing environmental conditions, which may limit crop productivity particularly when these conditions limit assimilation of mineral nutrients. Nitrogen (N) is quantitatively the most important nutrient for plants. Soil N content is often a limiting factor for plant growth and crop yield and the rise of mineral N fertilization in the last century has allowed the development of intensive agriculture. Nevertheless global environmental changes, which can reduce N assimilation, urge the need for a better understanding of plant N use. Indeed these changes are associated with growing concerns about the financial and environmental costs of N fertilization and a growing population, which increases the food demand and limits arable land surfaces. Therefore it is now a major worldwide concern to maintain or increase plant yield while reducing N fertilization.
The final goal of our research is to understand the molecular processes and the regulation of plant nitrogen nutrition. We wish to understand how nitrogen assimilation, storage and transport is regulated and how it contributes to crop yield and plant development. Therefore we use an integrative approach, ranging from genomic and molecular biology to plant physiology. This knowledge could then be harnessed to allow a constant yield (biomass and seed production and quality) even under low nitrogen supply.
With this aim, we investigate the molecular and genetic bases that govern the responses of plants to N availability focusing our research on three aspects: 

  • Transport of nitrate/nitrite within the whole plant
  • Regulatory processes in response to nitrogen availability
  • Interplay of the responses to N availability with other abiotic and biotic stress responses




Transport of nitrate/nitrite within the whole plant
Nitrate is both the major source of nitrogen, at least for our temperate culture conditions, and the first stored nitrogen compound which can be used and transported within the plant to sustain growth under external constraints. We study the molecular mechanisms that govern soil nitrate uptake by plant roots and its transport, storage and mobilisation within the whole plant during development. We particularly focus our studies on the high affinity nitrate transport system, which involves the NRT2 protein family. The translocation of nitrite - the first product of nitrate assimilation - into the chloroplast is still not completely elucidated in higher plants and one of our studied genes, encoding the chloroplastic PII protein (see below), seems to be involved in this step.



Regulatory processes in response to nitrogen availability

The plant responses to nitrogen availability requires mechanisms of sensing and regulation that control and coordinate the transport and the assimilation of nitrogen at both cellular and whole plant level. Knowledge on the molecular basis of the signal transduction cascades is still scarce. Several strategies have been undertaken for identifying new regulatory proteins. Beside our ongoing work using natural variation or –omic analyses (transcriptome to metabolite profiling) , we focus on proteins that are homologous to proteins involved in regulation by N in other organisms.

  • The PII signal transducing protein is a highly conserved protein involved in the amino acid/sugar-starch ratio (C/N) in response to nitrogen deprivation in plants. We have shown that in Arabidopsis PII is involved in regulation of nitrite transport, arginine biosynthesis and fatty acid synthesis (more details)
  • The Arabidopsis NLP gene family is homologous to a gene essential for nodulation in legumes (NIN) and to the Chlamydomonas Nit2 gene that regulates nitrate assimilation. NLPs are members of the so-called RWP-RK protein family and are coding for potential transcription factors. We have shown that NLP7 is one of the master regulators for nitrate-regulated gene expression in Arabidopsis. Interestingly, their regulation by nitrate involves a nuclear/cytoplasm shuttling of the protein (more details).
  • The TOR (Target of Rapamycin) and PI3K (phosphoinositol-3 kinase) signalling axis is conserved in eukaryotic cells and integrate environmental and hormonal information into growth and metabolic decisions. We have shown that the TOR kinase is needed for plant growth, regulation of translation and nutrient metabolism, and that both kinases are involved in stress adaptation in Arabidopsis (more details).

Our experimental approaches

Our studies employ targeted and global molecular-genetic, biochemical, physiological and cell biology-based approaches combined with integrative quantitative genetics strategies exploiting natural variability. Working mainly on the model species Arabidopsis, with which we have a long-standing and recognized experience, we recently enlarged our studies to the cereal-related model species Brachypodium distachyon (detailed information).


Main Results :


Selected Publications :

Duermeyer L, Khodapanahi E, Yan D, Krapp A, Rothstein SJ, Nambara E (2018). Regulation of seed dormancy and germination by nitrate. Seed Science research, in press

Forzani C, Turqueto Duarte G, Meyer C (2018) The Plant Target of Rapamycin Kinase: A connecTOR between Sulfur and Growth. Trends Plant Sci. 23:472-475.

Chardin C, Schenk ST, Hirt H , Colcombet J, Krapp A (2017) Mitogen-Activated Protein kinases in nutritional signaling in Arabidopsis. Plant Science 260:101-108.

Kiba T, Krapp A (2016) Plant nitrogen acquisition under low availability: regulation of uptake and root architecture. Plant and Cell Physiology 57 (4), 707-714.

Dobrenel T, Caldana C, Hanson J, Robaglia C, Vincentz M, Veit B, Meyer C (2016) TOR Signaling and Nutrient Sensing. Annu Rev Plant Biol. 67, 261-85 (Pubmed)

Kiba T, Krapp A (2016) Plant Nitrogen Acquisition Under Low Availability: Regulation of Uptake and Root Architecture. Plant Cell Physiol. 57, 707-14 (Pubmed)

Kravchenko A, Citerne S, Jéhanno I, Bersimbaev RI, Veit B, Meyer C, Leprince AS (2015) Mutations in the Arabidopsis Lst8 and Raptor genes encoding partners of the TOR complex, or inhibition of TOR activity decrease abscisic acid (ABA) synthesis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 467, 992-7 (Pubmed)

Krapp A (2015) Plant nitrogen assimilation and its regulation: a complex puzzle with missing pieces. Curr Opin Plant Biol 25, 115-122 (Pubmed)

Rexin D, Meyer C, Robaglia C, Veit B (2015) TOR signalling in plants. Biochem J. 470, 1-14 (Pubmed)

Ouibrahim L, Rubio AG, Moretti A, Montané MH, Menand B, Meyer C, Robaglia C, Caranta C (2015) Potyviruses differ in their requirement for TOR signalling. J Gen Virol. 96, 2898-903 (online)

Lezhneva L, Kiba T, Feria-Bourrellier A-B, Lafouge F, Boutet-Mercey S, Zoufan P, Sakakibara H, Daniel-Vedele F, Krapp A (2014) The Arabidopsis nitrate transporter NRT2.5 plays a role in nitrate acquisition and remobilization in nitrogen-starved plants. The Plant Journal 80, 230-24 (Pubmed)

Girin T, David L, Chardin C, Sibout R, Krapp A, Ferrario-Méry S, Daniel-Vedele F (2014) Brachypodium: a promising hub between model species and cereals. Journal of Experimental Botany 65, 5577-5587 (PubMed)

Chardin C, Girin T, Roudier F, Meyer C, Krapp A (2014) The plant RWP-RK transcription factors: Key regulators of nitrogen responses and of gametophyte development. Journal of Experimental Botany 65, 5577-5587 (PubMed)

Krapp A, David LC, Chardin C, Girin T, Marmagne A, Leprince AS, Chaillou S, Ferrario-Méry S,  Meyer C and Daniel-Vedele F (2014). Nitrate transport and signalling in Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany, 65: 789–798 (Abstract)

David LC , Dechorgnat J,  Berquin P, Routaboul JM, Debeaujon I, Daniel-Vedele F and Ferrario-Méry S. (2014). Proanthocyanidin oxidation of Arabidopsis seeds is altered inmutant of the high-affinity nitrate transporter NRT2.7. Journal of Experimental Botany 65: 885–893 (Full Text)

Klemens PAW, Patzke K, Deitmer J, Spinner L, Le Hir R, Bellini C, Bedu M, Chardon F, Krapp A, Neuhaus E. (2013). Overexpression of the Vacuolar Sugar Carrier AtSWEET16 Modifies Germination, Growth, and Stress Tolerance in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 163, 1338-1352. Full Text

Marchive C, Roudier F, Castaings L, Bréhaut V,  Blondet E, Colot V, Meyer C and Krapp A (2013). Nuclear retention of the transcription factor NLP7 orchestrates the early response to nitrate in plants. Nat. Commun 4:1713. Press release INRA 6/4/13. Recommanded by the Faculty of 1000

Chardon F, Bedu M, Calenge F, Klemens P, Spinner L, Clement G, Chietera G, Léran S, Ferrand M, Lacombe B, Loudet O, Dinant S, Bellini C, Neuhaus E, Daniel-Vedele F and Krapp A (2013). Leaf fructose content is controlled by the vacuolar transporter SWEET17 in Arabidopsis. Curr Biol 23:697-702. Press release INRA, 11/4/13

Moreau M, Azzopardi M, Clément G, Dobrenel T, Marchive C, Renne C, Martin-Magniette ML, Taconnat L, Renou JP, Robaglia C, Meyer C (2012). Mutations in the Arabidopsis homolog of LST8/GβL, a partner of the target of Rapamycin kinase, impair plant growth, flowering, and metabolic adaptation to long days. Plant Cell 24: 463-481

Robaglia C, Thomas M, Meyer C (2012) Sensing nutrient and energy status by SnRK1 and TOR kinases. Curr Opin Plant Biol 15: 301-307

Dechorgnat J., Patrit O., Krapp A., Fagard M.,and Daniel-Vedele F. (2012) Characterization of the Nrt2.6 Gene in Arabidopsis thaliana: A Link with Plant Response to Biotic and Abiotic Stress. PLoS ONE 7 : e42491. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042491

Kiba T, Feria-Bourrellier AB, Lafouge F, Lezhneva L, Boutet-Mercey S, Orsel M, Bréhaut V, Miller A, Daniel-Vedele F, Sakakibara H, Krapp A. (2012) The Arabidopsis Nitrate Transporter NRT2.4 Plays a Double Role in Roots and Shoots of Nitrogen-Starved Plants. Plant Cell 24: 245-258.

Chardon F, Noël V, Masclaux-Daubresse, C. (2012) Exploring NUE in crops and in Arabidopsis ideotypes to improve yield and seed quality. J. Exp. Bot. 63: 3401-3412.

Ikram S, Bedu M, Daniel-Vedele F, Chaillou S, Chardon F. (2012) Natural variation of Arabidopsis response to nitrogen availability. J Exp Bot 63: 91-105.

Krapp A, Berthomé R, Orsel M, Mercey-Boutet S, Yu A, Castaings L, Elftieh S, Major H, Renou JP, Daniel-Vedele F. (2011) Arabidopsis roots and shoots show distinct temporal adaptation patterns toward nitrogen starvation. Plant Physiol. 157:1255-82. (Pubmed)

Castaings L, Marchive, C, Meyer C, Krapp A (2011) Nitrogen signalling in Arabidopsis: how to obtain insights into a complex signalling network. J Exp Bot. 62: 1391-7. (Pubmed)

Masclaux-Daubresse C, Chardon F (2011) Exploring nitrogen remobilization for seed filling using natural variation in Arabidopsis thaliana. J Exp Bot. 62:2131-42.

Dechorgnat J, Nguyen CT, Armengaud P, Jossier M, Diatloff E, Filleur S, Daniel-Vedele F (2011). From the soil to the seeds: the long journey of nitrate in plants. J Exp Bot 62: 1349-1359.

Sormani R, Masclaux-Daubresse C, Daniel-Vedele F,  Chardon F (2011). Transcriptional Regulation of Ribosome Components Are Determined by Stress According to Cellular Compartments in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS ONE 6, e28070.

Baud S, Bourrellier ABF, Azzopardi M, Berger A., Dechorgnat J, Daniel-Vedele F, Lepiniec L, Miquel M, Rochat C, Hodges M, Ferrario-Mery S (2010). PII is induced by WRINKLED1 and fine-tunes fatty acid composition in seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Journal 64: 291-303.

Chardon F, Barthelemy J, Daniel-Vedele F, Masclaux-Daubresse C (2010) Natural variation of nitrate uptake and nitrogen use efficiency in Arabidopsis thaliana cultivated with limiting and ample nitrogen supply. J Exp Bot 61: 2293-2302.

Monachello D, Allot M, Oliva S, Krapp A, Daniel-Vedele F, Barbier-Brygoo H, Ephritikhine G. (2009) Two anion transporters AtClCa and AtClCe fulfil interconnecting but not redundant roles in nitrate assimilation pathways. New Phytol. 183: 88-94. (Pubmed)

Castaings L, Carmago A, Pocholle D, Gaudon V, Texier Y, Boutet-Mercey S, Taconnat, L, Renou, JP, Daniel-Vedele F, Fernandez, E, Meyer, C, Krapp A (2009) The nodule inception-like protein 7 modulates nitrate sensing and metabolism in Arabidopsis . Plant Journal 57: 426-35.

Feria Bourrellier AB, Ferrario-Méry S, Vidal J, Hodges M (2009) Metabolite regulation of the interaction between Arabidopsis thaliana PII and N-Acetyl-L-Glutamate Kinase. BBRC 387:700-704.

Richard-Molard C, Krapp A, Brun F, Ney B, Daniel-Vedele F, Chaillou S (2008) Plant response to nitrate starvation is determined by N storage capacity matched by nitrate uptake capacity in two Arabidopsis genotypes. J Exp Botany 59: 779-791.

Ferrario-Méry S, Meyer C, Hodges M. (2008) Chloroplast nitrite uptake is enhanced in Arabidopsis PII mutants. FEBS Letters 582:1061-1066.

Wirth J, Chopin F, Santoni V, Viennois G, Tillard P, Krapp A, Lejay L, Daniel-Vedele F, Gojon A. (2007) Regulation of root nitrate uptake at the NRT2.1 protein level in Arabidopsis thaliana J Biol Chem. 10: 23541-52. (Pubmed)

Chopin F, Orsel M, Dorbe MF, Chardon F, Truong HN, Miller T, Krapp A, Daniel-Vedele F. (2007) The arabidopsis ATNRT2.7 nitrate transporter gene controls nitrate content in seeds. The Plant Cell 19: 1590-1602



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