The present invention generally relates to plant nitrogen regulatory PII gene (hereinafter P-PII gene), a gene involved in regulating plant nitrogen metabolism. The invention provides P-PII nucleotide sequences, expression constructs comprising said nucleotide sequences, and host cells and plants having said constructs and, optionally expressing the P-PII gene from said constructs. The invention also provides substantially pure P-PII proteins. The P-PII nucleotide sequences and constructs of the invention may be used to engineer organisms to overexpress wild-type or mutant P-PII regulatory protein. Engineered plants that overexpress or underexpress P-PII regulatory protein may have increased nitrogen assimilation capacity. Engineered organisms may be used to produce P-PII proteins which, in turn, can be used for a variety of purposes including in vitro screening of herbicides. P-PII nucleotide sequences have additional uses as probes for isolating additional genomic clones having the promoters of P-PII gene. P-PII promoters are light- and/or sucrose-inducible and may be advantageously used in genetic engineering of plants.
This invention was made with U.S. government support under National Institute of Health grant number GM32877 and Department of Energy grant number DE-FG02-94ER20133 and National Science Foundation grant No. DIR-8908095. The U.S. government has certain rights in the invention.