Dr Mamoru Okamoto

Mamoru Okamoto
Research Fellow
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Faculty of Sciences

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Dr Mamoru Okamoto

My research interest is all about nitrogen from simple molecule such as nitric oxide (NO) to more complex molecules including amino acids and proteins. Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient for plant growth and development. Therefore, N fertilisers are one of the highest input costs for crop productions. However, N use efficiency of crop plants are relatively low and excess fertilisers run off and cause pollutions. One of my research questions is how can plants use nitrogen fertilisers more efficiently? To answer this question, we try to find genetic diversity for N use and identify genes responsible for better N uptake and utilization in wheat. We also conduct research on grain quality especially protein content, which is an important criteria for grain classification, and highly influenced by N status of plants. We use genetic approaches to dissect the mechanisms of grain protein accumulation, and aim to increase protein content without compromising other good traits. My other interests include N uptake from roots and shoots, N transporters, and NO synthesis and signalling in plants.    

I lead the nitrogen program of the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Wheat, and an ARC Linkage project.

For more information: http://www.wheathub.com.au/



Date Position Institution name
2008 Research Fellow School of Agriculture Food and Wine
2002 - 2008 Postdoctoral researcher The University of California, San Diego


Date Institution name Country Title
1997 - 2002 The University of British Columbia Canada PhD


Year Citation
2017 Plett, D., Holtham, L., Okamoto, M. & Garnett, T. (2017). Nitrate uptake and its regulation in relation to improving nitrogen use efficiency in cereals. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, -.
2017 Qiongyan, L., Cai, J., Berger, B., Okamoto, M. & Miklavcic, S. (2017). Detecting spikes of wheat plants using neural networks with Laws texture energy. Plant Methods, 13, 1, 83-1-83-13.
2016 Mahjourimajd, S., Taylor, J., Sznajder, B., Timmins, A., Shahinnia, F., Rengel, Z. ... Langridge, P. (2016). Genetic basis for variation in wheat grain yield in response to varying nitrogen application. H. Nguyen (Ed.). PLoS ONE, 11, 7, 1-18.
2016 Cai, J., Okamoto, M., Atieno, J., Sutton, T., Li, Y. & Miklavcic, S. (2016). Quantifying the onset and progression of plant senescence by color image analysis for high throughput applications. P. Kalaitzis (Ed.). PLoS ONE, 11, 6, 0157102-1-0157102-21.
2016 Mahjourimajd, S., Kuchel, H., Langridge, P. & Okamoto, M. (2016). Evaluation of Australian wheat genotypes for response to variable nitrogen application. Plant and Soil, 399, 1, 247-255.
2016 Mahjourimajd, S., Taylor, J., Rengel, Z., Khabaz-Saberi, H., Kuchel, H., Okamoto, M. & Langridge, P. (2016). The genetic control of grain protein content under variable nitrogen supply in an Australian wheat mapping population. H. T. Nguyen (Ed.). PLoS ONE, 11, 7, -.
2015 Han, M., Okamoto, M., Beatty, P., Rothstein, S. & Good, A. (2015). The genetics of nitrogen use efficiency in crop plants. Annual Review of Genetics, 49, 1, 9.1-9.21.
2015 Garnett, T., Plett, D., Heuer, S. & Okamoto, M. (2015). Genetic approaches to enhancing nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) in cereals: challenges and future directions. Functional Plant Biology, 42, 10, 921-941.
2014 Chiasson, D., Loughlin, P., Mazurkiewicz, D., Mohammadidehcheshmeh, M., Fedorova, E., Okamoto, M. ... Kaiser, B. (2014). Soybean SAT1 (Symbiotic Ammonium Transporter 1) encodes a bHLH transcription factor involved in nodule growth and NH₄⁺ transport. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 13, 4814-4819.
2012 Wang, W., Kohler, B., Cao, F., Liu, G., Gong, Y., Sheng, S. ... Liu, L. (2012). Rice DUR3 mediates high-affinity urea transport and plays an effective role in improvement of urea acquisition and utilization when expressed in Arabidopsis. New Phytologist, 193, 2, 432-444.
2007 Tischner, R., Galli, M., Heimer, Y., Bielefeld, S., Okamoto, M., Mack, A. & Crawford, N. (2007). Interference with the citrulline-based nitric oxide synthase assay by argininosuccinate lyase activity in Arabidopsis extracts. FEBS Journal, 274, 16, 4238-4245.
2007 Li, W., Wang, Y., Okamoto, M., Crawford, N., Siddiqi, M. & Glass, A. (2007). Dissection of the AtNRT2.1:AtNRT2.2 inducible high-affinity nitrate transporter gene cluster. Plant Physiology, 143, 1, 425-433.
2006 Okamoto, M., Kumar, A., Li, W., Wang, Y., Siddiqi, M., Crawford, N. & Glass, A. (2006). High-affinity nitrate transport in roots of Arabidopsis depends on expression of the NAR2-like gene AtNRT3.1. Plant Physiology, 140, 3, 1036-1046.
2005 Unkles, S., Rouch, D., Wang, Y., Siddiqi, M., Okamoto, M., Stephenson, R. ... Glass, A. (2005). Determination of the essentiality of the eight cysteine residues of the NrtA protein for high-affinity nitrate transport and the generation of a functional cysteine-less transporter. Biochemistry, 44, 14, 5471-5477.
2003 Guo, F. Q., Okamoto, M. & Crawford, N. (2003). Identification of a plant nitric oxide synthase gene involved in hormonal signaling. Science, 302, 5642, 100-103.
2003 Hanawa, F., Okamoto, M. & Towers, G. (2003). Inhibition of restriction enzyme's DNA sequence recognition by PUVA treatment. Nucleic Acids Research, (sup 2001), 3, 297-298.
2003 Kumar, A., Silim, S., Okamoto, M., Siddiqi, M. & Glass, A. (2003). Differential expression of three members of the AMT1 gene family encoding putative high-affinity NH₄⁺ transporters in roots of Oryza sativa subspecies indica. Plant Cell and Environment, 26, 6, 907-914.
2003 Wang, R., Okamoto, M., Xing, X. & Crawford, N. (2003). Microarray analysis of the nitrate response in Arabidopsis roots and shoots reveals over 1,000 rapidly responding genes and new linkages to glucose, trehalose-6-phosphate, iron, and sulfate metabolism. Plant Physiology, 132, 2, 556-567.
2003 Okamoto, M., Vidmar, J. & Glass, A. (2003). Regulation of NRT1 and NRT2 gene families of Arabidopsis thaliana: Responses to nitrate provision. Plant and Cell Physiology, 44, 3, 304-317.
2002 Glass, A., Britto, D., Kaiser, B., Kinghorn, J., Kronzucker, H., Kumar, A. ... Vidmar, J. (2002). The regulation of nitrate and ammonium transport systems in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, 53, 370, 855-864.
2001 Glass, A., Britto, D., Kaiser, B., Kronzucker, H., Kumar, A., Okamoto, M. ... Zhuo, D. (2001). Nitrogen transport in plants, with an emphasis on the regulation of fluxes to match plant demand. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science-Zzeitschrift fur Pflanzenernahrung und Bodenkunde, 164, 2, 199-207.
1999 Zhuo, D., Okamoto, M., Vidmar, J. J. & Glass, A. D. (1999). Regulation of a putative high-affinity nitrate transporter (Nrt2;1At) in roots ofArabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal, 17, 5, 563-568.

Book Chapters

Year Citation
2017 Plett, D., Garnett, T. & Okamoto, M. (2017). Molecular genetics to discover and improve nitrogen use efficiency in crop plants. In M. Hossain, T. Kamiya, D. Burritt, L. -. S. Tran & T. Fujiwara (Eds.), Plant Macronutrient Use Efficiency: Molecular and Genomic Perspectives in Crop Plants (pp. 93-122). Cambridge: Elsevier.
2016 Tricker, P., Haefele, S. M. & Okamoto, M. (2016). The interaction of drought and nutrient stress in wheat: Opportunities and limitations. In P. Ahmad (Ed.), Water Stress and Crop Plants: A Sustainable Approach (pp. 695-710). United Kingdom: Wiley.

Conference Papers

Year Citation
2013 Anbalagan, R., Kovalchuk, N., Parent, B., Kovalchuk, A., Okamoto, M., Whitford, R. & Haefele, S. M. (2013). A phenotyping platform for transgenic wheat: method and initial results. 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM). J. Piantadosi, R. Anderssen & J. Boland (Eds.) Adelaide, AUSTRALIA.
  • ARC Linkage Project (LP140100239) 2015-2018 Small molecules with large effect: The dual role of nitrogen-containing metabolites in stress tolerance and nutrient recycling: Lead CI
  • ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub (IH130200027) 2015-2020 Wheat in a hot and dry climate: Original CI

Current PhD students:

  • Alberto Casartelli (enrolled 2014) - The purine catabolic pathway in wheat: source of nutrients and protective metabolites
  • Margaret Kirika (enrolled 2016) - Physiological and molecular characterization of foliar N uptake in wheat
  • Vahid Rhimi (enrolled 2016) - Understanding the interactions between biomass, yield and grain protein content in hard and soft wheat


Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
2010 - 2013 Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics Scientific research Australia
Research Fellow
8313 7102
Plant Genomics Centre
Room Number
2 27
Org Unit
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine