Mobile MUTE specifies subsidiary cells to build physiologically improved grass stomata

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Science  17 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6330, pp. 1215-1218
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal3254

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Making more of your stomata

Stomata on grasses are made up of two guard cells and two subsidiary cells, and they perform better than stomata on broad-leaved plants, which are made up only of two guard cells. Raissig et al. found that the MUTE transcription factor in the wheat-like grass Brachypodium is a little bigger than the equivalent protein in the model broad-leaved plant Arabidopsis. The extension in the grass protein promotes its movement into adjacent cells, prompting them to become subsidiary cells. Mutant Brachypodium whose MUTE protein could not move between cells lacked stomatal subsidiary cells and grew poorly.

Science, this issue p. 1215