, Volume 221, Issue 3, pp 328–338 | Cite as

Amino acid contents and transport in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) under different nitrogen conditions

  • Jens Tilsner
  • Nina Kassner
  • Christine Struck
  • Gertrud LohausEmail author
Original Article


Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) needs very high nitrogen fertilizer inputs. Significant amounts of this nitrogen are lost during early leaf shedding and are a source of environmental and economic concern. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the remobilization of leaf amino acids could be limiting for nitrogen use efficiency. Therefore, amino acid concentrations were analyzed in subcellular compartments of leaf mesophyll cells of plants grown under low (0.5 mM NO 3 ) and high (4 mM NO 3 ) nitrogen supply. With high nitrogen supply, young leaves showed an elevated amino acid content, mainly in vacuoles. In old leaves, however, subcellular concentrations were similar under high and low nitrogen conditions, showing that the excess nitrogen had been exported during leaf development. The phloem sap contained up to 650 mM amino acids, more than four times as much than the cytosol of mesophyll cells, indicating a very efficient phloem-loading process. Three amino acid permeases, BnAAP1, BnAAP2, and BnAAP6, were identified and characterized. BnAAP1 and BnAAP6 mediated uptake of neutral and acidic amino acids into Xenopus laevis oocytes at the actual apoplastic substrate concentrations. All three transporters were expressed in leaves and the expression was still detectable during leaf senescence, with BnAAP1 and BnAAP2 mRNA levels increasing from mature to old leaves. We conclude that phloem loading of amino acids is not limiting for nitrogen remobilization from senescing leaves in oilseed rape.


Amino acid Brassica napus Leaf age Nitrogen efficiency Phloem Senescence Transport 



Amino acid permease


Fresh weight




Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction



We thank Christian Möllers of the Institut für Pflanzenbau und Pflanzenzüchtung, Universität Göttingen, for providing the vernalized rapeseed seedlings and valuable advice. We are grateful to Melanie Klenke and Marion Taube for sample preparation and the nonaqueous fractionation and W. Frommer, Tübingen, for providing the pBF1 vector. The suggestions of the two anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged. This work was funded by a grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to G.L.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens Tilsner
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nina Kassner
    • 1
  • Christine Struck
    • 2
  • Gertrud Lohaus
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biochemie der Pflanze, Göttinger Zentrum für Molekulare BiowissenschaftenUniversität GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für PflanzenpathologieUniversität KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  3. 3.Cell-Cell-Communications ProgrammeScottish Crop Research InstituteScotlandUK

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