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Plant Cell. 2006 Oct;18(10):2493-505.

Arabidopsis FAMA controls the final proliferation/differentiation switch during stomatal development.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5020, USA.


Coordination between cell proliferation and differentiation is essential to create organized and functional tissues. Arabidopsis thaliana stomata are created through a stereotyped series of symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions whose frequency and orientation are informed by cell-cell interactions. Receptor-like proteins and a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase were previously identified as negative regulators of stomatal development; here, we present the characterization of a bona fide positive regulator. FAMA is a putative basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor whose activity is required to promote differentiation of stomatal guard cells and to halt proliferative divisions in their immediate precursors. Ectopic FAMA expression is also sufficient to confer stomatal character. Physical and genetic interaction studies combined with functional characterization of FAMA domains suggest that stomatal development relies on regulatory complexes distinct from those used to specify other plant epidermal cells. FAMA behavior provides insights into the control of differentiation in cells produced through the activity of self-renewing populations.

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