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PLoS One. 2013 Sep 11;8(9):e72456. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072456. eCollection 2013.

Breaking of plant stomatal one-cell-spacing rule by sugar solution immersion.

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Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan.


The spatial distribution of plant stomata is a model system to study epidermal cell pattern formation. Molecular genetic approaches have identified several key genes required for stomatal distribution patterning, but environmental conditions that perturb the stomatal spacing distribution have not yet been identified. We found that immersing hydroponic cultures in 1-5% sucrose solution induced abnormally clustered stomata in the cotyledons of Arabidopsis seedlings. Clustered stomata were also induced by treatment with glucose or fructose solution but not by mannitol solution, suggesting that osmotic stress was not a cause of the disturbed stomatal patterns. Stomatal lineage cell-specific enhancer trap lines revealed that the sugar solution treatment led to ectopic expression of stomatal lineage cell-specific genes in non-stomatal lineage cells. Aniline blue staining also showed that there was reduced deposition of callose, a plant cell wall component, in new cell walls during formation of stomatal precursor cells (meristemoids). These results suggested that the immersion treatment with sugar solution permitted ectopic guard cell differentiation through dysfunction of the cell wall dividing stomatal- and non-stomatal lineage cells. Our simple induction system for clustered stomata provides a suitable tool for further studies to investigate the one-cell-spacing rule during plant stomatal development.

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