University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Putting things in perspective: multiscale integration of stomatal development

Putting things in perspective: multiscale integration of stomatal development

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During development, multicellular organisms create a diverse set of specialized cell types and organize these cells into functional tissues. Often this process involves establishing self-renewing populations via asymmetric cell divisions. Once established, these populations must divide and create new differentiated cells at the appropriate rate and in the appropriate place. We use stomata (epidermal structures that regulate carbon dioxide and water exchange) as a model to understand asymmetric divisions during pattern formation in plants; stomata guard cells are created via a stereotyped set of asymmetric cell divisions whose number and orientation are dictated by the interplay of cell-type specific transcription factors and local cell-cell interactions. Work from several labs over the last decade has identified key regulators of stomatal lineage cell fates. Much of the fate specification within the stomatal lineage involves regulatory logic and molecules conserved between plants and animals. The control over asymmetric divisions and cell morphogenesis, however, involves primarily plant-specific elements. Having found footholds into the questions of cell polarity and fate, we hope to move these into a larger context—how do these key restriction points integrate information from various sources into a discrete outcome, and what are the genetic networks surrounding these nodes? Current larger-scale projects are to capture cell growth, division and targeted gene expression patterns in stomatal lineage cells as a whole leaf develops and to obtain cell-type-specific gene regulation trends. I will discuss how these approaches interface with focused projects on the targets and regulation of two transcription factors, SPEECHLESS and FAMA , and the generation of cell polarity preceding and following asymmetric cell division and the themes that emerge when cell fate and developmental flexibility in this lineage relative to other self-renewing populations in the plant.

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

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