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New Phytol. 2016 Aug;211(3):809-18. doi: 10.1111/nph.13950. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

Roles of sucrose in guard cell regulation.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476, Potsdam-Golm, Germany.


The control of stomatal aperture involves reversible changes in the concentration of osmolytes in guard cells. Sucrose has long been proposed to have an osmolytic role in guard cells. However, direct evidence for such a role is lacking. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that sucrose may perform additional roles in guard cells. Here, we provide an update covering the multiple roles of sucrose in guard cell regulation, highlighting the knowledge accumulated regarding spatiotemporal differences in the synthesis, accumulation, and degradation of sucrose as well as reviewing the role of sucrose as a metabolic connector between mesophyll and guard cells. Analysis of transcriptomic data from previous studies reveals that several genes encoding sucrose and hexose transporters and genes involved in gluconeogenesis, sucrose and trehalose metabolism are highly expressed in guard cells compared with mesophyll cells. Interestingly, this analysis also showed that guard cells have considerably higher expression of C4 -marker genes than mesophyll cells. We discuss the possible roles of these genes in guard cell function and the role of sucrose in stomatal opening and closure. Finally, we provide a perspective for future experiments which are required to fill gaps in our understanding of both guard cell metabolism and stomatal regulation.


cell-specific metabolism; guard cells; mesophyll; stomatal movements; sucrose

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