PIF4 enhances the expression of SAUR genes to promote growth in response to nitrate

Matías Ezequiel Pereyra, Cecilia Costigliolo Rojas, Anne F. Jarrell, Austin S. Hovland, Stephen A. Snipes, Punita Nagpal, David Alabadí, Miguel A. Blázquez, Rodrigo A. Gutiérrez, Jason W. Reed, William M. Gray, Jorge José Casal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Nitrate supply is fundamental to support shoot growth and crop performance, but the associated increase in stem height exacerbates the risks of lodging and yield losses. Despite their significance for agriculture, the mechanisms involved in the promotion of stem growth by nitrate remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the elongation of the hypocotyl of Arabidopsis thaliana, used as a model, responds rapidly and persistently to upshifts in nitrate concentration, rather than to the nitrate level itself. The response occurred even in shoots dissected from their roots and required NITRATE TRANSPORTER 1.1 (NRT1.1) in the phosphorylated state (but not NRT1.1 nitrate transport capacity) and NIN-LIKE PROTEIN 7 (NLP7). Nitrate increased PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4) nuclear abundance by posttranscriptional mechanisms that depended on NRT1.1 and phytochrome B. In response to nitrate, PIF4 enhanced the expression of numerous SMALL AUXIN-UP RNA (SAUR) genes in the hypocotyl. The growth response to nitrate required PIF4, positive and negative regulators of its activity, including AUXIN RESPONSE FACTORs, and SAURs. PIF4 integrates cues from the soil (nitrate) and aerial (shade) environments adjusting plant stature to facilitate access to light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2304513120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number39
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 the Author(s).


  • ARF7
  • NLP7
  • NRT1.1
  • shade

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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