When amino acids or ammonia are added to plant systems, the effects on the development of nitrate-dependent nitrate reductase activity are variable. In addition, amino acids added singly or as casein hydrolysate may not support a normal growth. A physiologically correct mixture of amino acids, one similar in composition to amino acids released by the endosperm, has been shown to support normal growth and protein synthesis in corn ( Zea mays ) embryos. In this investigation, we have used the mixture of corn amino acids to determine whether amino acids have an effect on the appearance or disappearance of nitrate reductase activity. The results show that these amino acids partially inhibit the induction of nitrate reductase in corn roots. The effect is more pronounced in mature root than in root tip sections. When glutamine and asparagine are included along with the “corn amino acid mixture,” the inhibition is more severe. Amino acids or amino acid analogues added singly to the induction medium have a similar effect: i.e. when the induction of nitrate reductase is inhibited in the root tips (lysine, canavanine, azaserine, azetidine-2-carboxylic acid, dl -4-azaleucine, asparagine, and glutamine), that inhibition is more severe in mature root sections. Arginine enhanced the recovery of nitrate reductase in root tips but inhibited it in mature root sections. The effect of the amino acids is apparently on some phase of the induction processes ( i.e. the uptake or distribution of nitrate or a direct effect on the synthesis of the enzyme) and not on the turnover of the enzyme.
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