Comparative analysis of tissue-specific transcriptomic responses to nitrogen stress in spinach (Spinacia oleracea). Academic Article uri icon


  • Nitrogen (N) is critical to the growth and productivity of crops. To understand the molecular mechanisms influenced by N stress, we used RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq) to analyze differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in root and leaf tissues of spinach. N stress negatively influenced photosynthesis, biomass accumulation, amino acid profiles, and partitioning of N across tissues. RNA-seq analysis revealed that N stress caused most transcriptomic changes in roots, identifying 1,346 DEGs. High-affinity nitrate transporters (NRT2.1, NRT2.5) and glutamine amidotransferase (GAT1) genes were strongly induced in roots in response to N deplete and replete conditions, respectively. GO and KEGG analyses revealed that the functions associated with metabolic pathways and nutrient reservoir activity were enriched due to N stress. Whereas KEGG pathway enrichment analysis indicated the upregulation of DEGs associated with DNA replication, pyrimidine, and purine metabolism in the presence of high N in leaf tissue. A subset of transcription factors comprising bHLH, MYB, WRKY, and AP2/ERF family members was over-represented in both tissues in response to N perturbation. Interesting DEGs associated with N uptake, amino acid metabolism, hormonal pathway, carbon metabolism, along with transcription factors, were highlighted. The results provide valuable information about the underlying molecular processes in response to N stress in spinach and; could serve as a resource for functional analysis of candidate genes/pathways and enhancement of nitrogen use efficiency.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Joshi, V., Joshi, M., & Penalosa, A.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Joshi, Vijay||Joshi, Madhumita||Penalosa, Arianne

editor list (cited editors)

  • Singh, A. K.

publication date

  • May 2020