Form, development and function of grass stomata
by Nunes T. D. G., Zhang D., Raissig M. T. (2019)
In The Plant Journal, Early View – https://doi.org/10.1111/tpj.14552 –
Stomata are cellular breathing pores on leaves that open and close to absorb photosynthetic carbon dioxide and to restrict water loss through transpiration, respectively. Grasses (Poaceae) form morphologically innovative stomata, which consist of two dumbbell‐shaped guard cells flanked by two lateral subsidiary cells (SCs). This ‘graminoid’ morphology is associated with faster stomatal movements leading to more water‐efficient gas exchange in changing environments. Here, we offer a genetic and mechanistic perspective on the unique graminoid form of grass stomata and the developmental innovations during stomatal cell lineage initiation, recruitment of SCs and stomatal morphogenesis. Furthermore, the functional consequences of the four‐celled, graminoid stomatal morphology are summarized. We compile the identified players relevant for stomatal opening and closing in grasses, and discuss possible mechanisms leading to cell‐type‐specific regulation of osmotic potential and turgor. In conclusion, we propose that the investigation of functionally superior grass stomata might reveal routes to improve water‐stress resilience of agriculturally relevant plants in a changing climate.