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Curr Top Dev Biol. 2010;91:267-97. doi: 10.1016/S0070-2153(10)91009-0.

Stomatal patterning and development.

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Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.


Stomata are epidermal pores used for water and gas exchange between a plant and the atmosphere. Both the entry of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and the evaporation of water that drives transpiration and temperature regulation are modulated by the activities of stomata. Each stomatal pore is surrounded by two highly specialized cells called guard cells (GCs), and may also be associated with neighboring subsidiary cells; this entire unit is referred to as the stomatal complex. Generation of GCs requires stereotyped asymmetric and symmetric cell divisions, and the pattern of stomatal complexes in the epidermis follows a "one-cell-spacing rule" (one complex almost never touches another one). Both stomatal formation and patterning are highly regulated by a number of genetic components identified in the last decade, including, but not limited to, secreted peptide ligands, plasma membrane receptors and receptor-like kinases, a MAP kinase module, and a series of transcription factors. This review will elaborate on the current state of knowledge about components in signaling pathways required for cell fate and pattern, with emphasis on (1) a family of extracellular peptide ligands and their relationship to the TOO MANY MOUTHS receptor-like protein and/or members of the ERECTA receptor-like kinase family, (2) three tiers of a MAP kinase module and the kinases that confer novel regulatory effects in specific stomatal cell types, and (3) transcription factors that generate specific stomatal cell types and the regulatory mechanisms for modulating their activities. We will then consider two new proteins (BASL and PAN1, from Arabidopsis and maize, respectively) that regulate stomatal asymmetric divisions by establishing cell polarity.

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