New perspectives on glutamine synthetase in grasses

Stéphanie M. Swarbreck, M. Defoin-Platel, M. Hindle, M. Saqi, Dimah Z. Habash

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Members of the glutamine synthetase (GS) gene family have now been characterized in many crop species such as wheat, rice, and maize. Studies have shown that cytosolic GS isoforms are involved in nitrogen remobilization during leaf senescence and emphasized a role in seed production particularly in small grain crop species. Data from the sequencing of genomes for model crops and expressed sequence tag (EST) libraries from non-model species have strengthened the idea that the cytosolic GS genes are organized in three functionally and phylogenetically conserved subfamilies. Using a bioinformatic approach, the considerable publicly available information on high throughput gene expression was mined to search for genes having patterns of expression similar to GS. Interesting new hypotheses have emerged from searching for co-expressed genes across multiple unfiltered experimental data sets in rice. This approach should inform new experimental designs and studies to explore the regulation of the GS gene family further. It is expected that understanding the regulation of GS under varied climatic conditions will emerge as an important new area considering the results from recent studies that have shown nitrogen assimilation to be critical to plant acclimation to high CO2 concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1522
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


  • Bioinformatics
  • climate change
  • gene expression
  • glutamine synthetase
  • nitrogen
  • nitrogen use efficiency
  • phylogenetics
  • QTLs
  • regulation
  • systems
  • yield


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