The scarcity of freshwater is an increasing concern in flood-irrigated rice, whilst excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers is costly and contributes to environmental pollution. To co-ordinate growth adaptation under prolonged exposure to limited water or excess nitrogen supply, plants employ complex systems for signalling and regulation of metabolic processes. There is limited information on the involvement of one of the most important post-translational modifications (PTMs), protein phosphorylation, in plant adaptation to long-term changes in resource supply. Oryza sativa cv. Nipponbare was grown under two regimes of nitrogen from the time of germination to final harvest. Twenty-five days after germination, water was withheld from half the pots in each nitrogen treatment and low water supply continued for an additional 26 days, while the remaining pots were well watered. Leaves from all four groups of plants were harvested after 51 days in order to test whether phosphorylation of leaf proteins responded to prior abiotic stress events. The dominant impact of these resources is exerted in leaves, where PTMs have been predicted to occur. Proteins were extracted and phosphopeptides were analysed by nanoLC-MS/MS analysis, coupled with label-free quantitation. Water and nitrogen regimes triggered extensive changes in phosphorylation of proteins involved in membrane transport, such as the aquaporin OsPIP2-6, a water channel protein. Our study reveals phosphorylation of several peptides belonging to proteins involved in RNA-processing and carbohydrate metabolism, suggesting that phosphorylation events regulate the signalling cascades that are required to optimize plant response to resource supply. This journal is
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