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Plant Cell Physiol. 2013 Aug;54(8):1253-62. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pct076. Epub 2013 May 17.

Differential effects of the peptides Stomagen, EPF1 and EPF2 on activation of MAP kinase MPK6 and the SPCH protein level.

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Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan.


The positioning and density of leaf stomata are regulated by three secretory peptides, EPIDERMAL PATTERNING FACTOR 1 (EPF1), EPF2 and stomagen. Several lines of published evidence have suggested a regulatory pathway as follows. EPF1 and EPF2 are perceived by receptor complexes consisting of a receptor-like protein, TOO MANY MOUTHS (TMM), and receptor kinases, ERECTA (ER), ERECTA-LIKE (ERL) 1 and ERL2. These receptors activate a mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase module. MAP kinases phosphorylate and destabilize the transcription factor SPEECHLESS (SPCH), resulting in a decrease in the number of stomatal lineage cells. Stomagen acts antagonistically to EPF1 and EPF2. However, there is no direct evidence that EPF1 and EPF2 activate or that stomagen inactivates the MAP kinase cascade, through which they might regulate the SPCH level. Experimental modulation of these peptides in Arabidopsis thaliana would change the number of stomatal lineage cells in developing leaves, which in turn would change the expression of SPCH, making the interpretation difficult. Here we reconstructed this signaling pathway in differentiated leaf cells of Nicotiana benthamiana to examine signaling without the confounding effect of cell type change. We show that EPF1 and EPF2 are able to activate the MAP kinase MPK6, and that both EPF1 and EPF2 are able to decrease the SPCH level, whereas stomagen is able to increase it. Our data also suggest that EPF1 can be recognized by TMM together with any ER family receptor kinase, whereas EPF2 can be recognized by TMM together with ERL1 or ERL2, but not by TMM together with ER.


Arabidopsis thaliana; EPF; MAP kinase; Nicotiana benthamiana; SPEECHLESS; Stomata

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