Molecular markers for the ontogeny of stomatal clusters



Tracing the ontogeny of stomatal clusters in Arabidopsis with molecular markers.

by Serna L., Fenoll C. (1997)

Laura Serna, Carmen Fenoll

in Plant Journal 12: 747–755 – DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-313X.1997.12040747.x –

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The origin and process by which the mosaic of the different cell types is established during the development of the leaf epidermis in Arabidopsis are largely unknown, although the recent characterization of two mutants which develop stomatal clusters (four lips (flp) and too many mouths (tmm)) has opened up the possibility for genetic dissection of the stomata spacing.

By using growth conditions which limit gas exchange with the open atmosphere, stomatal clusters that look like phenocopies of flp and tmm have been induced, suggesting that stomata spacing is under environmental as well as genetic control in Arabidopsis.

The origin of these clusters has been addressed by following promoter activity for genes that are markers for competence for cell division (cdc2aAt), mitotic activity (cyc1aAt), and guard mother cell and developing guard cell identity (rha1).

Their different expression patterns in the various cell types during epidermal differentiation and the asynchrony in the development of the various stomata that constitute each cluster suggest that these stomatal clusters derive from a single protodermal cell through a process that involves changes in cell fate in a subset of subsidiary cells.

It was also found that guard cells express cdc2aAt and cyc1aAt, supporting the idea that they may remain competent for cell division.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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

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