The present disclosure relates to compositions and methods for increasing the leaf-to-root ratio of the signal metabolite 2-oxoglutaramate and related proline molecules in plants by modulating levels of .OMEGA.-amidase to increase nitrogen use efficiency, resulting in enhanced growth, faster growth rates, greater seed and fruit/pod yields, earlier and more productive flowering, increased tolerance to high salt conditions, and increased biomass yields.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396, awarded by the United States Department of Energy to Los Alamos National Security, LLC. The government has certain rights in this invention.