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Arabidopsis Stomatal Initiation Is Controlled by MAPK-Mediated Regulation of the bHLH SPEECHLESS

Science  14 Nov 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5904, pp. 1113-1116
DOI: 10.1126/science.1162263

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Abstract

Stomata, epidermal structures that modulate gas exchange between plants and the atmosphere, play critical roles in primary productivity and the global climate. Positively acting transcription factors and negatively acting mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling control stomatal development in Arabidopsis; however, it is not known how the opposing activities of these regulators are integrated. We found that a unique domain in a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) stomatal initiating factor, SPEECHLESS, renders it a MAPK phosphorylation target in vitro and modulates its function in vivo. MAPK cascades modulate a diverse set of activities including development, cell proliferation, and response to external stresses. The coupling of MAPK signaling to SPEECHLESS activity provides cell type specificity for MAPK output while allowing the integration of multiple developmental and environmental signals into the production and spacing of stomata.

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