University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Adjusting the valves: fate and flexibility in stomatal development

Adjusting the valves: fate and flexibility in stomatal development

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Plants exhibit remarkable developmental plasticity in response to changes in nutritional status or the environment. We use the Arabidopsis stomatal lineage as model to understand how information from a variety of local and distant sources is integrated into developmental decisions. Stomata are microscopic cellular valves essential for gas-exchange between the plant and atmosphere. Stomatal guard cells and the developmental pathways used to make, pattern and adapt them to the prevailing environment offer a distillation of important themes in development and a platform for single-cell investigations of identity and physiology. It is also important to forge links between stomatal development and physiology at multiple scales in diverse plant families. The parallel expansion of stomatal lineage complexity and stomatal transcription factors across the plant kingdom provides a powerful “natural laboratory” in which to analyze structure/function of individual proteins and evolution of their regulatory networks. I will present vignettes of how we’ve leveraged key regulators of stomatal development into a system-wide view of cell identity, and preview some of the experimental and imaging-based tools that enable us to capture and manipulate these regulators of developmental decisions in Arabidopsis. With these tools and the discovery that homologous transcription factors anchor cell identities in Arabidopsis, Physcomitrella and Brachypodium, we are beginning to capture information about cell identity and developmental potential in a wide range of plants possessing interesting stomatal properties, including many plants of ecological and economic relevance.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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