Nitrogen uptake and assimilation in proliferating embryogenic cultures of Norway spruce-Investigating the specific role of glutamine
PLoS One. 2017, 12(8):e0181785 eCollection 2017
Carlsson J, Svennerstam H, Moritz T, Egertsdotter U, Ganeteg U

Abstract
Somatic embryogenesis is an in vitro system employed for plant propagation and the study of embryo development. Nitrogen is essential for plant growth and development and, hence, the production of healthy embryos during somatic embryogenesis. Glutamine has been shown to increase plant biomass in many in vitro applications, including somatic embryogenesis. However, several aspects of nitrogen nutrition during somatic embryogenesis remain unclear. Therefore, we investigated the uptake and assimilation of nitrogen in Norway spruce pro-embryogenic masses to elucidate some of these aspects. In our study, addition of glutamine had a more positive effect on growth than inorganic nitrogen. The nitrogen uptake appeared to be regulated, with a strong preference for glutamine; 67% of the assimilated nitrogen in the free amino acid pool originated from glutamine-nitrogen. Glutamine addition also relieved the apparently limited metabolism (as evidenced by the low concentration of free amino acids) of pro-embryogenic masses grown on inorganic nitrogen only. The unusually high alanine concentration in the presence of glutamine, suggests that alanine biosynthesis was involved in alleviating these constraints. These findings inspire further studies of nitrogen nutrition during the somatic embryogenesis process; identifying the mechanism(s) that govern glutamine enhancement of pro-embryogenic masses growth is especially important in this regard.

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