, Volume 249, Issue 4, pp 909–918 | Cite as

Denitrification by plant roots? New aspects of plant plasma membrane-bound nitrate reductase

  • Manuela Eick
  • Christine StöhrEmail author
Review Article


A specific form of plasma membrane-bound nitrate reductase in plants is restricted to roots. Two peptides originated from plasma membrane integral proteins isolated from Hordeum vulgare have been assigned as homologues to the subunit NarH of respiratory nitrate reductase of Escherichia coli. Corresponding sequences have been detected for predicted proteins of Populus trichocarpa with high degree of identities for the subunits NarH (75%) and NarG (65%), however, with less accordance for the subunit NarI. These findings coincide with biochemical properties, particularly in regard to the electron donors menadione and succinate. Together with the root-specific and plasma membrane-bound nitrite/NO reductase, nitric oxide is produced under hypoxic conditions in the presence of nitrate. In this context, a possible function in nitrate respiration of plant roots and an involvement of plants in denitrification processes are discussed.


Nitrate reductase Plasma membrane Root Denitrification Nitric oxide NarH 



Plasma membrane


Nitrate reductase


Nitrite/NO reductase



We thank all former and current members of the Stöhr laboratory for excellent technical assistance. We also thank Dr. Dörte Becher and Martin Moche at the Institute of Microbial Physiology and Molecular Biology (University Greifswald) for the mass spectrometric analysis of the gel samples.

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für BotanikErnst-Moritz-Arndt-UniversitätGreifswaldGermany

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