Cellular compartmentation of ammonium assimilation in rice and barley

Alyson K. Tobin, Tomoyuki Yamaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


This review describes immunolocalization studies of the tissue and cellular location of glutamine synthetase (GS; EC and glutamate synthase (Fd GOGAT; EC and NADH-GOGAT; EC proteins in roots and leaves of rice (Oryza sativa L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). In rice, cytosolic GS (GS1) protein was distributed homogeneously through all cells of the root. NADH GOGAT protein was strongly induced and its cellular location altered by ammonium treatment, becoming concentrated within the epidermal and exodermal cells. Fd GOGAT protein location changed with root development, from a widespread distribution in young cells to becoming concentrated within the central cylinder as cells matured. Plastid GS protein was barely detectable in rice roots, but was the major isoform in leaves, being present in the mesophyll and parenchyma sheath cells. GS1 was specific to the vascular bundle, as was NADH GOGAT, whereas Fd GOGAT was primarily found in mesophyll cells. In barley roots, GS1 protein was found in the cortical and vascular parenchyma and its concentration was highest in N-deficient seedlings. Plastid GS protein was detected in both cortical and vascular cells, where different plastid forms, containing different concentrations of GS protein, were identified. In barley leaves, GS2 protein was detected in the mesophyll chloroplasts and GS1 was found in the mesophyll and vascular cells. N nutrition strongly influenced this distribution, with a marked increase in GS1 concentration in the vascular cells in response to nitrate and ammonium, and an increase in mesophyll GS2 concentration in nitrate-grown seedlings. Fd GOGAT protein was found in both the mesophyll and vascular plastids. These localization studies show that the GS/GOGAT cycle is highly compartmentalized at both the subcellular and cellular levels. Reasons for this compartmentation, and the roles of each isoform, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-604
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number356
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Ammonium
  • Immunolocalization
  • Nitrate
  • Plastid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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