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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Nov 9;96(23):13577-82.

Ozone inhibits guard cell K+ channels implicated in stomatal opening.

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  • 1Environmental Resources Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Ozone (O3) deleteriously affects organisms ranging from humans to crop plants, yet little is understood regarding the underlying mechanisms. In plants, O3 decreases CO2 assimilation, but whether this could result from direct O3 action on guard cells remained unknown. Potassium flux causes osmotically driven changes in guard cell volume that regulate apertures of associated microscopic pores through which CO2 is supplied to the photosynthetic mesophyll tissue. We show in Vicia faba that O3 inhibits (i) guard cell K+ channels that mediate K+ uptake that drives stomatal opening; (ii) stomatal opening in isolated epidermes; and (iii) stomatal opening in leaves, such that CO2 assimilation is reduced without direct effects of O3 on photosynthetic capacity. Direct O3 effects on guard cells may have ecological and agronomic implications for plant productivity and for response to other environmental stressors including drought.

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