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Division of Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology Section and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0116; e-mail:


Guard cells surround stomatal pores in the epidermis of plant leaves and stems. Stomatal pore opening is essential for CO2 influx into leaves for photosynthetic carbon fixation. In exchange, plants lose over 95% of their water via transpiration to the atmosphere. Signal transduction mechanisms in guard cells integrate hormonal stimuli, light signals, water status, CO2, temperature, and other environmental conditions to modulate stomatal apertures for regulation of gas exchange and plant survival under diverse conditions. Stomatal guard cells have become a highly developed model system for characterizing early signal transduction mechanisms in plants and for elucidating how individual signaling mechanisms can interact within a network in a single cell. In this review we focus on recent advances in understanding signal transduction mechanisms in guard cells.

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