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Dev Biol. 1992 Jan;149(1):158-67.

Stomatal patterning in Tradescantia: an evaluation of the cell lineage theory.

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Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


The cell lineage theory, which explains stomatal patterning in monocot leaves as a consequence of orderly divisions, was studied in Tradescantia. Data were collected to test the theory at three levels of organization: the individual stoma; stomata distributed in one dimension, in linear fashion along cell files; and stomata apportioned in two dimensions, across the length and breadth of the leaf. In an attempt to watch the patterning process through regeneration, stomata in all visible stages of development were laser ablated. The results showed that the formation of stomatal initials was highly regular, and measurements of stomatal frequency and spacing showed that pattern was determined near the basal meristem when the stomatal initials arose. Following the origin of initials, the pattern was not readjusted by division of epidermal cells. Stomatal initials were not committed when first present and a small percentage of them arrested. The arrested cells, unlike stomata, were consistently positioned in cell files midway between a developed pair of stomata. At the one-dimensional level of pattern, stomata in longitudinal files were separated by a variable number of epidermal cells and the frequency of these separations was not random. The sequential spacing of stomata also was not random, and stomata separated by single epidermal cells were grouped into more short and long series than expected by chance. The stomatal pattern across the width of the leaf resulted from cell files free of stomata which alternated with cell files containing stomata, but not with a recurring periodicity. Files lacking stomata were found only over longitudinal vascular bundles. Laser ablations of developing stomata did not disrupt the pattern in nearby cells or result in stomatal regeneration. We conclude that the cell lineage theory explains pattern as an individual stomatal initial arises from its immediate precursor and satisfactorily accounts for the minimum spacing of stomata in a cell file, i.e., stoma-epidermal cell-stoma. However, the theory does not explain the collective stomatal pattern along the cell files, at the one-dimensional level of patterning. Nor does the theory account for the for the two-dimensional distribution of stomata in which regions devoid of stomata alternate with regions enriched with stomata, but not in a highly regular nor haphazard manner. We suggest that the grouping of epidermal cells and stomata separated by single epidermal cells in cell files may result from cell lineages at a specific position in the cell cycle as they traverse the zone where stomatal initials form.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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