Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Found That Controls Stomatal Cell Growth In Plants

Date:
June 3, 2002
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Researchers at Ohio State University have identified the gene that controls the distribution of stomatal cells on leaves, key components for the healthy growth of all plants.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Researchers at Ohio State University have identified the gene that controls the distribution of stomatal cells on leaves, key components for the healthy growth of all plants.

The discovery may have implications for enhancing the growth of important crop plants and might even provide an alternative of sorts for research into human stem cells.

The finding, reported in the current issue of the journal Science, linked the TMM gene in Arabidopsis plants to the formation and distribution of stomatal cells on the surfaces of leaves.

Arabidopsis thaliana is for botanists what fruit flies are for animal geneticists. It is one of the most important - and best understood - models for scientific study. While this common mustard plant has little economic value, it is widely used to better understand the processes governing plant growth.

Fred Sack, a professor of plant biology at Ohio State University, and Jeanette Nadeau, a postdoctoral fellow in the same department, spent several two years trying to understand how the TMM gene altered the number and arrangement of stomatal cells on leaves. Now they have discovered that TMM is only the second known gene to be involved in stomatal development in plants.

"Genes like TMM exist in crop plants such as rice," Sack said. "If TMM has the same function in crop plants that it does in Arabidopsis, then it could be a key regulator."

Stomatal cells function as pores on the underside of leaves and control the entry of gases into the leaf for photosynthesis.

Normally, stem cells - cells that are self-renewing and that form specific types of cells - in the Arabidopsis epidermis will divide asymmetrically into a smaller, daughter cell, which eventually form stomata, and a larger daughter cell. Signalling between cells tells the smaller cell to become located away from existing stomata, insuring a fairly even distribution of stoma across the leaf surface.

But when Sack and Nadeau found mutations in the TMM gene, they realized that the programming failed. Stomatal cells began to increase in number and clump together rather than maintain their characteristic spacing. (The name of the gene - TMM - stands for "Too Many Mouths. "Stoma" is the Greek word for mouth.)

"This tells us that the TMM protein probably receives signals that orient the position of asymmetric cell division," Sack said. "The TMM protein is found in a set of stem cells and their progeny. It apparently controls which cells divide during leaf development."

Sack said that the developmental pathway that leads to stomatal cells is responsible for the formation of the majority of plant cells on the leaves. This gives the plant a way to adjust the number of stomata it may need to thrive in any given environment.

Aside from its potential importance in enhancing crop plants, the work may be valuable in other ways.

"In animal science, the investigation of asymmetric cell division is a major area of study but in plant science, almost nothing is known about it," he said. "Here we have a cell type that is patterned by asymmetric division and we have a gene that affects the orientation of those divisions."

Sack also said that while stem cell research has been widely discussed recently, "most people aren't used to thinking that plants have stem cells. But these fit all the hallmarks of stem cells.

"It raises interesting questions about what we can learn from stem cells in plants versus what we can learn from animal stem cells," he said.

The research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Gene Found That Controls Stomatal Cell Growth In Plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020603071444.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2002, June 3). Gene Found That Controls Stomatal Cell Growth In Plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020603071444.htm
Ohio State University. "Gene Found That Controls Stomatal Cell Growth In Plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020603071444.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins