Special Issue "Role of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Nutrition, Growth and Metabolism of Photosynthetic Organisms"

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant, Algae and Fungi Cell Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 February 2023 | Viewed by 16149

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Alexei Solovchenko
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Interests: luxury uptake of phosphorus; nutrient biocapture; intracellular nutrient reserves; stress effects on lipid metabolism; high carbon dioxide tolerance; phycoremediation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

In addition to light, photosynthetic organisms, a vital component of the biosphere, require energy, water, and inorganic carbon (a set of mineral nutrients, most important of which are nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)). Single-celled phototrophs as well as higher plants respond to fluctuations in the nutrient availability by deployment of a broad range of acclimations enhancing the N and P acquisition and accumulation of their reserves. On the cellular and subcellular level, the nutrient deprivation and resupply trigger a profound reprogramming of transcriptome and metabolome. On the ecosystem level, the availability of N and especially P modulates the productivity of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Adequate supply of N and P is a prerequisite for crop productivity and hence for food security. Inefficient use of mineral fertilizers leads to soil degradation and eutrophication of eater bodies. Therefore, the practices and technologies for sustainable use of N and P are in great demand.

This Special Issue is intended to advance our understanding of the effects of N and P availability on different aspects of autotrophic cell functioning, including acquisition and uptake of the nutrients and turnover of their cell reserves. Papers elucidating new aspects of cyanobacterial, algal, and plant cell response to the nutrient shortage and their interplay with other stresses offering further mechanistic insights are welcome. Reviews outlining state-of-the-art developments in these fields can be considered as well.

Dr. Alexei Solovchenko
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • nutrient uptake
  • eutrophication
  • nutrient starvation and luxury uptake
  • nutrient reserves
  • nutrient biocapture
  • nitrogen fixation
  • sustainable usage of nutrients
  • nutrient acquisition
  • nutrient-mobilizing microorganisms
  • nutrient bioavailability in soil

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Intercropping of Leguminous and Non-Leguminous Desert Plant Species Does Not Facilitate Phosphorus Mineralization and Plant Nutrition
Cells 2022, 11(6), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11060998 - 15 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1470
Abstract
More efficient use of soil resources, such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), can improve plant community resistance and resilience against drought in arid and semi-arid lands. Intercropping of legume and non-legumes can be an effective practice for enhancing P mineralization uptake, and [...] Read more.
More efficient use of soil resources, such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), can improve plant community resistance and resilience against drought in arid and semi-arid lands. Intercropping of legume and non-legumes can be an effective practice for enhancing P mineralization uptake, and plant nutrient status. However, it remains unclear how intercropping systems using desert plant species impact soil-plant P fractions and how they affect N and water uptake capacity. Alhagi sparsifolia (a legume) and Karelinia caspia (a non-legume) are dominant plant species in the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang Province, China. However, there is a lack of knowledge of whether these species, when intercropped, can trigger synergistic processes and mechanisms that drive more efficient use of soil resources. Thus, in a field experiment over two years, we investigated the impact of monoculture and intercropping of these plant species on soil-plant P fractions and soil-plant nutrients. Both plant species’ foliar nutrient (N, P, and K) concentrations were higher under monoculture than intercropping (except K in K. caspia). Nucleic acid P was higher in the monoculture plots of A. sparsifolia, consistent with higher soil labile P, while metabolic P was higher in monoculture K. caspia, associated with higher soil moderately labile Pi. However, both species had a higher residual P percentage in the intercropping system. Soils from monoculture and intercropped plots contained similar microbial biomass carbon (MBC), but lower microbial biomass N:microbial biomass phosphorus (MBN:MBP) ratio associated with reduced N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAG) activity in the intercropped soils. This, together with the high MBC:MBN ratio in intercropping and the lack of apparent general effects of intercropping on MBC:MBP, strongly suggest that intercropping improved microbe N- but not P-use efficiency. Interestingly, while EC and SWC were higher in the soil of the K. caspia monoculture plots, EC was significantly lower in the intercropped plots. Plants obtained better foliar nutrition and soil P mineralization in monocultures than in intercropping systems. The possible positive implications of intercropping for reducing soil salinization and improving soil water uptake and microbial N-use efficiency could have advantages in the long term and its utilization should be explored further in future studies. Full article
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Article
Simulating the Interplay between the Uptake of Inorganic Phosphate and the Cell Phosphate Metabolism under Phosphorus Feast and Famine Conditions in Chlorella vulgaris
Cells 2021, 10(12), 3571; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10123571 - 17 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1517
Abstract
Using a mathematical simulation approach, we studied the dynamics of the green microalga Chlorella vulgaris phosphate metabolism response to shortage and subsequent replenishing of inorganic phosphate in the medium. A three-pool interaction model was used to describe the phosphate uptake from the medium, [...] Read more.
Using a mathematical simulation approach, we studied the dynamics of the green microalga Chlorella vulgaris phosphate metabolism response to shortage and subsequent replenishing of inorganic phosphate in the medium. A three-pool interaction model was used to describe the phosphate uptake from the medium, its incorporation into the cell organic compounds, its storage in the form of polyphosphates, and culture growth. The model comprises a system of ordinary differential equations. The distribution of phosphorous between cell pools was examined for three different stages of the experiment: growth in phosphate-rich medium, incubation in phosphate-free medium, and phosphate addition to the phosphorus-starving culture. Mathematical modeling offers two possible scenarios for the appearance of the peak of polyphosphates (PolyP). The first scenario explains the accumulation of PolyP by activation of the processes of its synthesis, and the decline in PolyP is due to its redistribution between dividing cells during growth. The second scenario includes a hysteretic mechanism for the regulation of PolyP hydrolysis, depending on the intracellular content of inorganic phosphate. The new model of the dynamics of P pools in the cell allows one to better understand the phenomena taking place during P starvation and re-feeding of the P-starved microalgal cultures with inorganic phosphate such as transient PolyP accumulation. Biotechnological implications of the observed dynamics of the polyphosphate pool of the microalgal cell are considered. An approach enhancing the microalgae-based wastewater treatment method based on these scenarios is proposed. Full article
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Article
Association of Barley Root Elongation with ABA-Dependent Transport of Cytokinins from Roots and Shoots under Supra-Optimal Concentrations of Nitrates and Phosphates
Cells 2021, 10(11), 3110; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10113110 - 10 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 876
Abstract
Changes in root elongation are important for the acquisition of mineral nutrients by plants. Plant hormones, cytokinins, and abscisic acid (ABA) and their interaction are important for the control of root elongation under changes in the availability of ions. However, their role in [...] Read more.
Changes in root elongation are important for the acquisition of mineral nutrients by plants. Plant hormones, cytokinins, and abscisic acid (ABA) and their interaction are important for the control of root elongation under changes in the availability of ions. However, their role in growth responses to supra-optimal concentrations of nitrates and phosphates has not been sufficiently studied and was addressed in the present research. Effects of supra-optimal concentrations of these ions on root elongation and distribution of cytokinins between roots and shoots were studied in ABA-deficient barley mutant Az34 and its parental variety, Steptoe. Cytokinin concentration in the cells of the growing root tips was analyzed with the help of an immunohistochemical technique. Increased concentrations of nitrates and phosphates led to the accumulation of ABA and cytokinins in the root tips, accompanied by a decline in shoot cytokinin content and inhibition of root elongation in Steptoe. Neither of the effects were detected in Az34, suggesting the importance of the ability of plants to accumulate ABA for the control of these responses. Since cytokinins are known to inhibit root elongation, the effect of supra-optimal concentration of nitrates and phosphates on root growth is likely to be due to the accumulation of cytokinins brought about by ABA-induced inhibition of cytokinin transport from roots to shoots. Full article
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Article
Phosphorus Feast and Famine in Cyanobacteria: Is Luxury Uptake of the Nutrient Just a Consequence of Acclimation to Its Shortage?
Cells 2020, 9(9), 1933; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9091933 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2322
Abstract
To cope with fluctuating phosphorus (P) availability, cyanobacteria developed diverse acclimations, including luxury P uptake (LPU)—taking up P in excess of the current metabolic demand. LPU is underexplored, despite its importance for nutrient-driven rearrangements in aquatic ecosystems. We studied the LPU after the [...] Read more.
To cope with fluctuating phosphorus (P) availability, cyanobacteria developed diverse acclimations, including luxury P uptake (LPU)—taking up P in excess of the current metabolic demand. LPU is underexplored, despite its importance for nutrient-driven rearrangements in aquatic ecosystems. We studied the LPU after the refeeding of P-deprived cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. PCC 7118 with inorganic phosphate (Pi), including the kinetics of Pi uptake, turnover of polyphosphate, cell ultrastructure, and gene expression. The P-deprived cells deployed acclimations to P shortage (reduction of photosynthetic apparatus and mobilization of cell P reserves). The P-starved cells capable of LPU exhibited a biphasic kinetic of the Pi uptake and polyphosphate formation. The first (fast) phase (1–2 h after Pi refeeding) occurred independently of light and temperature. It was accompanied by a transient accumulation of polyphosphate, still upregulated genes encoding high-affinity Pi transporters, and an ATP-dependent polyphosphate kinase. During the second (slow) phase, recovery from P starvation was accompanied by the downregulation of these genes. Our study revealed no specific acclimation to ample P conditions in Nostoc sp. PCC 7118. We conclude that the observed LPU phenomenon does not likely result from the activation of a mechanism specific for ample P conditions. On the contrary, it stems from slow disengagement of the low-P responses after the abrupt transition from low-P to ample P conditions. Full article
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Review

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Review
Genetic Engineering and Genome Editing for Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Plants
Cells 2021, 10(12), 3303; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10123303 - 25 Nov 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2483
Abstract
Low nitrogen availability is one of the main limiting factors for plant growth and development, and high doses of N fertilizers are necessary to achieve high yields in agriculture. However, most N is not used by plants and pollutes the environment. This situation [...] Read more.
Low nitrogen availability is one of the main limiting factors for plant growth and development, and high doses of N fertilizers are necessary to achieve high yields in agriculture. However, most N is not used by plants and pollutes the environment. This situation can be improved by enhancing the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in plants. NUE is a complex trait driven by multiple interactions between genetic and environmental factors, and its improvement requires a fundamental understanding of the key steps in plant N metabolism—uptake, assimilation, and remobilization. This review summarizes two decades of research into bioengineering modification of N metabolism to increase the biomass accumulation and yield in crops. The expression of structural and regulatory genes was most often altered using overexpression strategies, although RNAi and genome editing techniques were also used. Particular attention was paid to woody plants, which have great economic importance, play a crucial role in the ecosystems and have fundamental differences from herbaceous species. The review also considers the issue of unintended effects of transgenic plants with modified N metabolism, e.g., early flowering—a research topic which is currently receiving little attention. The future prospects of improving NUE in crops, essential for the development of sustainable agriculture, using various approaches and in the context of global climate change, are discussed. Full article
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Review
Influence of Nitrogen and Phosphorus on Microalgal Growth, Biomass, Lipid, and Fatty Acid Production: An Overview
Cells 2021, 10(2), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10020393 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 85 | Viewed by 6341
Abstract
Microalgae can be used as a source of alternative food, animal feed, biofuel, fertilizer, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and for pharmaceutical purposes. The extraction of organic constituents from microalgae cultivated in the different nutrient compositions is influenced by microalgal growth rates, biomass yield and nutritional [...] Read more.
Microalgae can be used as a source of alternative food, animal feed, biofuel, fertilizer, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and for pharmaceutical purposes. The extraction of organic constituents from microalgae cultivated in the different nutrient compositions is influenced by microalgal growth rates, biomass yield and nutritional content in terms of lipid and fatty acid production. In this context, nutrient composition plays an important role in microalgae cultivation, and depletion and excessive sources of this nutrient might affect the quality of biomass. Investigation on the role of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are crucial for the growth of algae, has been addressed. However, there are challenges for enhancing nutrient utilization efficiently for large scale microalgae cultivation. Hence, this study aims to highlight the level of nitrogen and phosphorus required for microalgae cultivation and focuses on the benefits of nitrogen and phosphorus for increasing biomass productivity of microalgae for improved lipid and fatty acid quantities. Furthermore, the suitable extraction methods that can be used to utilize lipid and fatty acids from microalgae for biofuel have also been reviewed. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Genetic Engineering and Genome Editing for Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Plants
Authors: Vadim G. Lebedev 1, 2 and Konstantin A. Shestibratov 1,2
Affiliation: 1. Branch of the Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Prospekt Nauki 6, 142290 Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia; 2. Voronezh State University of Forestry and Technologies Named after G.F. Morozov, 8 Timiryazeva Str. 394087 Voronezh, Russia
Abstract: Nitrogen is one of the main nutrients for plants, and nitrogen fertilizers are widely used in agriculture to increase yields. Unfortunately, most of the nitrogen is not used by plants and thus pollutes the soil and water. Modern breeding methods based on genetic engineering, and in recent years, on genome editing, can increase the nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUE) by plants. To date, a large number of genes for uptake, transport, utilization and remobilization of nitrogen, as well as transcription factors, have been used for improvement NUE. This review examines the effects of the transgenes on plant growth and development and discusses the most optimal strategies for increasing NUE.

Title: Association of barley root elongation under supra-optimal concentrations of nitrates and phosphates with ABA-dependent transport of cytokinins from roots and shoots
Authors: Lidiya Vysotskaya, Vadim Fedyaev, Leila Timergalina, Guzel Akhiyarova, Alla Kurobova, Ditry Veselov, Guzel Kudoyarova
Affiliation: Ufa Institute of Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Abstract: Changes in concentration of essential mineral nutrients influences root growth thereby optimizing ions uptake. Since ions are unevenly distributed in soil, roots frequently penetrate soil patches which are reach with phosphates and nitrates. The resulting inhibition of root elongation enables efficient acquisition of ions from the patches. However mechanisms controlling this adaptive root growth response are not fully understood. Availability of phosphates and nitrates is known to influence concentration of hormones, mainly cytokinins and abscisic acid (ABA), capable of controlling root elongation. In some cases, interaction between these hormones was detected under changes in availability of mineral nutrients. The aim of the present work was in the study of dependence of root growth response to increased concentration of phosphates and nitrates on ability of plants to synthesize ABA. Effects of over-optimal concentrations of these ions on root elongation and distribution of these hormones between roots and shoots was studied in ABA-deficient barley mutant AZ34 and its parental variety Steptoe. Cytokinin concentration in the cells of the growing root tips was analyzed with the help of immunohistochemical technique using specific antibodies against cytokinin, zeatin riboside. Increased concentrations of nitrates and phosphates led to accumulation of ABA and cytokinins in the roots tips accompanied by a decline in shoot cytokinin content and inhibition of root elongation in Steptoe. Neither of the effects was detected in AZ34 suggesting importance of ability of plants to accumulate ABA for the control of these responses. Since cytokinins are known to inhibit root elongation the effect of increased concentration of mineral nutrients on root growth is likely to be due to accumulation of cytokinins brought about by ABA-induced inhibition of cytokinin transport from roots to shoots.

Title: Simulating the interplay between the uptake of inorganic phosphate and the cell metabolic reactions under phosphorus feast and famine conditions in Chlorella vulgaris
Authors: Tatiana Yu. Plyusnina1, Polina V. Fursova1, Sergei S. Khruschev1, Alexei E. Solovchenko2, Taras K. Antal1,3, Galina Yu. Riznichenko1, Andrei B. Rubin1
Affiliation: 1Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1/12, Moscow, 119234 Russia, E-mail: [email protected] 2Department of Bioengineering, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1/12, Moscow, 119234 Russia 3Pskov State University, Lenin sq. 2, Pskov, 180000 Russia
Abstract: Using mathematical simulation approach, we studied the dynamics of the green microalgae Chlorella vulgaris cell metabolism response to shortage and subsequent replenishing of inorganic phosphate, Pi in the medium. Distribution of Pi between cell pools and corresponding changes in central metabolism were examined for three different cases: autotrophic growth in Pi-rich medium, incubation in Pi-free medium, and growth re-start by Pi addition to the phosphorus-starving culture. The modeling confirms the ability of Pi-starving cell to accumulate carbohydrate reserves. Replenishment of Pi in the medium switches central metabolism of the cell to starch catabolism to cover the energy demand for fast Pi uptake. As a result, exogenous Pi is taken up by the cell and stored in the form of polyphosphates, which are subsequently metabolized for cell division. Biotechnological implications of the observed dynamics of polyphosphate pool of the microalgal cell are considered.

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