The physiological role of K+-dependent and K+-independent asparaginases in plants remains unclear, and the contribution from individual isoforms during development is poorly understood. We have used reverse genetics to assess the phenotypes produced by the deficiency of K+-dependent NSE1 asparaginase in the model legume Lotus japonicus. For this purpose, four different mutants were identified by TILLING and characterized, two of which affected the structure and function of the asparaginase molecule and caused asparagine accumulation. Plant growth and total seed weight of mature mutant seeds as well as the level of both legumin and convicilin seed storage proteins were affected in the mutants. The mutants isolated in the present work are the first of their type in legumes and have enabled us to demonstrate the importance of asparagine and K+-dependent NSE1 asparaginase for nitrogen remobilization and seed production in L. japonicus plants.
Plant and Cell Physiology, 2013, Vol 54, Issue 1, p. 107-118