Making a pore: signaling and transcription factor control of stomatal differentiation

Torii KU1,2

  1. Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biology, University of Washington.
  2. Principal Investigator, Institute of Transformative Biomolecules, Nagoya University.

Multi-cellular organisms must coordinate cell behaviors to achieve a functional form. For plants, the cell walls present a special challenge, as cell movement is limited and patterns must emerge through controlled cell proliferation and differentiation. Our group defining the molecular mechanism specifying patterning using the development of specialized cell structures called stomata as a model. Stomata, cellular valves on the plant epidermis, serve as critical interface between plant and atmosphere, and the presence of stomata impacts global carbon and water cycles. For this reason, proper stomatal development and function are critical for plant growth and survival, especially in light of changing climate. Focusing on stomatal development, where the initiation, proliferation and differentiation of a bipotent precursor cell can be monitored at a single cell resolution, we aim to elucidate the complex interplay of cell-cell signaling and master regulatory transcription factors specifying tissue patterning. In this seminar, I will present our recent findings revealing the structural insight into the stomatal fate decision, and the molecular circuitry creating stomata.