Soluble and Plasma Membrane-bound Enzymes Involved in Nitrate and Nitrite Metabolism

  • Christian Meyer
  • Christine Stöhr
Part of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration book series (AIPH, volume 12)


Cytosolic nitrate reductase has been the subject of numerous studies because it has long been considered the principal site of the regulation of nitrate assimilation. Recently, specific plasma membrane-bound enzymes have been identified, which are able to reduce nitrate as well as nitrite and which exhibit particularly interesting structural and biochemical properties. Other recent studies have demonstrated that nitrite reductase shares its ability to reduce nitrite with the plasma membrane-bound nitrite:NO oxidoreductase in roots and also with cytosolic nitrate reductase. Nitrite reduction catalysed by these enzymes leads to the production of NO. We assess the physiological significance of these reactions in the detoxification of nitrate and nitrite or in the production of a signaling molecule. We also discuss other enzyme activities that may play significant roles in nitrite detoxification, either by reduction to gaseous species or by oxidation to nitrate. The second reaction of nitrate assimilation, the conversion of nitrite to ammonium, can consume a significant proportion of photosynthetic reducing energy, either directly in chloroplasts or indirectly, via the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway. Evidence is presented that plastidic nitrite reductase, the enzyme that catalyses this conversion, might be as finely regulated as nitrate reductase by endogenous factors. The expression of both reductases appears to respond in a similar fashion to carbon and nitrogen metabolites and also to nitrate, though some differences are discussed. In concert with the regulation of the expression of these components, nitrate also controls expression of the enzymatic machinery needed for the supply of reducing power to nitrite reduction, underscoring the importance of this reaction as a sink for reducing power.


cNR — cytosolic nitrate reductase Fd — ferredoxin FNR — ferredoxin-NADP+ oxidoreductase Glc-6-P — glucose-6-phosphate GPI — glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol NiR — nitrite reductase NR — nitrate reductase OPPP — oxidative pentose phosphate pathway PM-NR — plasma-membrane-bound nitrate reductase SiR — sulfite reductase 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Meyer
    • 1
  • Christine Stöhr
    • 2
  1. 1.Unité de Nutrition Azotée des PlantesINRAVersaillesFrance
  2. 2.Institut für BotanikTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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