Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Report Role of the Stomatal Development Regulators in Abiotic Stress Responses

November 26, 2010

Microscopic pores on plants called stomata are important in the adaptation of plants to abiotic stress. The density of stomata is affected by several environmental factors. However, it is not clear if the regulators of stomatal development are also involved in the action of stomata in response to abiotic stress. FOURLIPS (FLP) and its duplicate MYB88 both code for MYB proteins, which are responsible for stomatal patterning by allowing only single symmetric division before stomata differentiate.

Ohio State University researcher Zidian Xie and colleagues conducted a study to investigate the effects of the loss of FLP/MYB88 function on the stress tolerance of Arabidopsis plants. Under standard greenhouse growth conditions, flp-1 myb88 double mutants are viable and do not exhibit observable charcteristics on above ground parts, but flp-1 myb88 plants are observed to be more vulnerable to drought, high salt, and amplified water loss. Uninduced flp-1 myb88 plants showed a decreased accumulation of abiotic stress gene transcripts, compared with wild-type green tissues. The induction of these genes under saline conditions was lower in flp-1 myb88 plants. Based on these results, FLP/MYB88 has a function in sensing and/or transducing abiotic stress, which is extremely neglected in flp-1 myb88 mutants.

The abstract of this article is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04364.x/abstract.