RLK-mediated signaling in stomatal development

Photo credit: NCBI

Progression through the stomatal lineage and expression patterns of EPF, ERf and TMM genes

Depiction of the origin and progression of cells in the stomatal lineage of the leaf epidermis. Examples of divisions creating specific precursor cell types are shown in bulk on the growing leaf. Above each leaf stage are depicted two cells, one stomatal lineage and one not, and their development over time. The expression pattern of ligands (color coded shading as indicated in the key) follows their published transcriptional reporter expression. Receptors (depicted with the extracellular portion as a V-shape) are placed with their intracellular domains in the cell type corresponding to published transcriptional reporter expression. MMC, meristemoid mother cell; M, meristemoid, GC, guard cell.

Complex signals for simple cells: the expanding ranks of signals and receptors guiding stomatal development.

by Rowe M. H., Bergmann D. C. (2010)


Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA.

in Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 2010 Oct;13(5):548-55.- doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2010.06.002. Epub 2010 Jul 16. –

PMID: 20638894 – 



In development, pattern formation requires that cell proliferation and differentiation be precisely coordinated. Stomatal development has served as a useful model system for understanding how this is accomplished in plants. Although it has been known for some time that stomatal development is regulated by a family of receptor-like kinases (RLKs) and an accompanying receptor-like protein (RLP), only recently have putative ligands been identified.

Despite the structural homology demonstrated by the genes that encode these small, secreted peptides, they convey different information, vary with one another in their relationship to common signaling components, control distinct aspects of stomatal development, and do so antagonistically.

Their discovery has revealed the intricate network of interactions required upstream of RLK signal transduction for the patterning of complex tissues. However, at issue still is whether specific ligand-receptor combinations are responsible for the activation of discrete signaling pathways or spatiotemporal modulation of a common pathway.

This review integrates the latest findings regarding RLK-mediated signaling in stomatal development with emerging paradigms in the field.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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

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