Increase of stomatal density with cytokinin


Cytokinin activity increases stomatal density and transpiration rate in tomato

by Farber M.Attia Z., Weiss D. (2016)

Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel

  1. Mika Farber,
  2. Ziv Attia
  3. David Weiss

in J. Exp. Bot. (2016) 67 (22):6351-6362.doi: 10.1093/jxb/erw398 –


Previous studies on cytokinin (CK) and drought have suggested that the hormone has positive and negative effects on plant adaptation to restrictive conditions. This study examined the effect of CK on transpiration, stomatal activity, and response to drought in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants.

Transgenic tomato plants overexpressing the Arabidopsis thaliana CK-degrading enzyme CK oxidase/dehydrogenase 3 (CKX3) maintained higher leaf water status under drought conditions due to reduced whole-plant transpiration. The reduced transpiration could be attributed to smaller leaf area and reduced stomatal density.

CKX3-overexpressing plants contained fewer and larger pavement cells and fewer stomata per leaf area than wild-type plants. In addition, wild-type leaves treated with CK exhibited enhanced transpiration and had more pavement cells and increased numbers of stomata per leaf area than untreated leaves.

Manipulation of CK levels did not affect stomatal movement or abscisic acid-induced stomatal closure. Moreover, we found no correlation between stomatal aperture and the activity of the CK-induced promoter Two-Component Signaling Sensor(TCS) in guard cells.

Previous studies have shown that drought reduces CK levels, and we propose this to be a mechanism of adaptation to water deficiency: the reduced CK levels suppress growth and reduce stomatal density, both of which reduce transpiration, thereby increasing tolerance to prolonged drought conditions.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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