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Broyart C.,EA 3900 BioPI Biologie des Plantes et Controle des Insectes Ravageurs | Broyart C.,Universite Ibn Tofail | Broyart C.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Fontaine J.-X.,EA 3900 BioPI Biologie des Plantes et Controle des Insectes Ravageurs | And 10 more authors.
Phytochemical Analysis | Year: 2010

Introduction - Maize mutants deficient for the expression of two genes encoding cytosolic glutamine syntehtase (GS) isoenzymes GS1.3 and GS1.4 displayed reduced kernel number and kernel size, respectively, the effect of the mutation being cumulative in the double mutant. However, at maturity, shoot biomass production was not modified in all the mutants, indicating that the reaction catalysed by the enzyme is specifically involved in the control of grain yield. Objective - To examine the physiological impact of the GS mutations on the leaf metabolic profile during the kernel filling period, during which nitrogen is remobilised from the shoots to be further exported to the kernels. Methodology - An 1H-NMR spectroscopy metabolomic was applied to the investigation of metabolic change of the gln1.3, gln1.4 and gln1.3/1.4 double mutant. Results - In the three GS mutants, an increase in the amount of several N-containing metabolites such as asparagine, alanine, threonine and phophatidylcholine was observed whatever the level of nitrogen fertilisation. In addition, we found an accumulation of phenylalanine and tyrosine, two metabolites involved the primary steps of the phenylpropanoid pathway. Conclusion - Changes in the metabolic profile of the GS mutants suggest that, when cytosolic GS activity is strongly reduced, either alternative metabolic pathways participate in the reassimilation of ammonium released during leaf protein remobilisation or that premature leaf senescence is induced when kernel set and kernel filling are affected. The accumulation of phenylalanine and tyrosine in the mutant plants indicates that lignin biosynthesis is altered, thus possibly affecting ear development. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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