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Stomata are minute openings found in the epidermis of leaves, stems and other plant organs. Stomata allow gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapour and oxygen to diffuse into and out of the internal tissues of the plant.
Two genes controlling the transcriptional network involved in stomatal development in Arabidopsis thaliana have a conserved function in the non-vascular moss Physcomitrella patens. Moss mutants without stomata show delayed capsule dehiscence.
The predicted rise in CO2 levels during this century is expected to stimulate crop yields, offsetting losses from greater drought. But this study, using free-air CO2 enrichment, shows soybean yield gains dropping to zero as drought stress increased.
An investigation of the molecular mechanism of stomatal development and patterning finds an unexpected signalling mechanism: two signalling peptides (STOMAGEN, a positive regulator of stomatal development; and EPF2, a negative regulator of this process) use the same receptor kinase, ERECTA, to fine-tune stomatal development.
The specialized photosynthesis adopted by drought-resilient crassulacean acid metabolism plants has inverted the diel stomatal opening behaviour of their ancestral C3 plants. This was achieved via large-scale reprogramming of expression of the signal transduction machinery and a coordinate shift in the cellular redox poise.
Rising atmospheric CO2 is expected to boost crop yields during drought events because it promotes stomatal closure and saves water. However, field experiments with soybean in a simulated future CO2 atmosphere suggest that crop canopy interactions with climate might prevent this mechanism from delivering its expected benefits.