Research teams

Symbiotic Nitrogen Acquisition in Plant-Microbe Systems

SYNAPS 9 members 61 IJPB publications (2006-to date)

The team studies the physiology and molecular genetics of nitrogen nutrition in plants.
ADAPTATION & METABOLISM BIOTECH SMART CROPS AGROECOLOGY Quantitative Genetics Nutrition beneficial microbes nitrogen nutrition mycorrhizal fungi
The objective of the research program is to improve or maintain the productivity of plants when nitrogen fertilization is reduced. To do this, we exploit the beneficial impact of the microbial environment in the rhizosphere and the genetic diversity existing or created of crops with regard to the absorption and assimilation of nitrogen.

The main topics our team is interested in are shown below:

Biological Question
- Physiology and genetics of nitrogen nutrition in order to identify the limiting steps of nitrogen absorption, assimilation and recycling in order to improve them, especially when nitrogen availability is reduced.
- Exploiting the beneficial effect of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) present in the rhizosphere which can supply nitrogen to cereals like maize.

Models, tools and Methods
The main biological models are maize for the plant and microorganisms such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and endophytic nitrogen fixing bacteria.
Several methodological approaches are used on different organs and at different scales of plant organization:
- Physiology and molecular genetics of nitrogen nutrition
- Exploiting plant genetic diversity using quantitative, association genetics and genetic engineering approaches
- Phenotyping from cellular to whole plant level under controlled or field conditions
- System biology
- Impact of beneficial microbes on plant nitrogen nutrition

Societal and economical impacts
The aim of the research carried out by the team GAPV is to provide tools and markers in order to further select crops that use nitrogen more efficiently thus allowing to reduce the excessive application of nitrogen fertilizers that are detrimental to the environment. As such, the team GPV is involved in innovative projects involving industrial partners and technical institutes.

Major recent publications

Decouard, B., Bailly, M., Rigault, M, Marmagne, A., Arkoun, M. Soulay, F.,  et al.  (2022) Natural variation of nitrogen use efficiency and amino acid metabolism in north African barley. Frontiers in Plant Sciences.

Chowdhury, N. B., Schroeder, W. L., Sarkar, D., Amiour, N., Quilleré, I., Hirel, B., et al. (2022). Dissecting the metabolic reprogramming of maize root under nitrogen-deficient stress conditions. J. Exp. Bot. 73, 275–291.

Amiour, N., Décousset, L., Rouster, J., Quenard, N., Buet, C., Dubreuil, P., et al. (2021). Impacts of environmental conditions, and allelic variation of cytosolic glutamine synthetase on maize hybrid kernel production. Commun. Biol. 4, 1095.

Dellagi, A., Quillere, I., and Hirel, B. (2020).Beneficial soil-borne bacteria and fungi: a promising way to improve plant nitrogen acquisition. J. Exp. Bot.

Brusamarello-Santos, L. C., Gilard, F., Brulé, L., Quilleré, I., Gourion, B., Ratet, P., et al. (2017). Metabolic profiling of two maize (Zea mays L.) inbred lines inoculated with the nitrogen fixing plant-interacting bacteria Herbaspirillum seropedicae and Azospirillum brasilense. PLoS One 12, e0174576. Available at:

Cañas, R. A., Yesbergenova-Cuny, Z., Simons, M., Chardon, F., Armengaud, P., Quilleré, I., et al. (2017). Exploiting the Genetic Diversity of Maize Using a Combined Metabolomic, Enzyme Activity Profiling, and Metabolic Modeling Approach to Link Leaf Physiology to Kernel Yield. Plant Cell 29, 919 LP – 943.
Symbiotic Nitrogen Acquisition in Plant-Microbe Systems