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Bioessays. 2009 Aug;31(8):865-73. doi: 10.1002/bies.200800231.

Cell fate transitions during stomatal development.

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  • 1Facultad de Ciencias del Medio Ambiente, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha. Real Fábrica de Armas, Avda. Carlos III, Toledo, Spain.


Stomata, the most influential components in gas exchange with the atmosphere, represent a revealing system for studying cell fate determination. Studies in Arabidopsis thaliana have demonstrated that many of the components, functioning in a signaling cascade, guide numerous cell fate transitions that occur during stomatal development. The signaling cascade is initiated at the cell surface through the activation of the membrane receptors TOO MANY MOUTHS (TMM) and/or ERECTA (ER) family members by the secretory peptide EPIDERMAL PATTERNING FACTOR1 (EPF1) and/or a substrate processed proteolytically by the subtilase STOMATAL DENSITY AND DISTRIBUTION1 (SDD1) and transduced through cytoplasmic MAP kinases (YODA (YDA), MKK4/MKK5, and MPK3/MPK6) towards the nucleus. In the nucleus, these MAP kinases regulate the activity of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins SPEECHLESS (SPCH), MUTE, and FAMA, which act in concert with the bHLH-Leu zipper protein SCREAM (SCRM) (and/or its closely related paralog, SCREAM2). This article reviews current insights into the role of this signaling cascade during stomatal development.

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