Stomagen positively regulates stomatal density in Arabidopsis

Nature. 2010 Jan 14;463(7278):241-4. doi: 10.1038/nature08682. Epub 2009 Dec 9.


Stomata in the epidermal tissues of leaves are valves through which passes CO(2), and as such they influence the global carbon cycle. The two-dimensional pattern and density of stomata in the leaf epidermis are genetically and environmentally regulated to optimize gas exchange. Two putative intercellular signalling factors, EPF1 and EPF2, function as negative regulators of stomatal development in Arabidopsis, possibly by interacting with the receptor-like protein TMM. One or more positive intercellular signalling factors are assumed to be involved in stomatal development, but their identities are unknown. Here we show that a novel secretory peptide, which we designate as stomagen, is a positive intercellular signalling factor that is conserved among vascular plants. Stomagen is a 45-amino-rich peptide that is generated from a 102-amino-acid precursor protein designated as STOMAGEN. Both an in planta analysis and a semi-in-vitro analysis with recombinant and chemically synthesized stomagen peptides showed that stomagen has stomata-inducing activity in a dose-dependent manner. A genetic analysis showed that TMM is epistatic to STOMAGEN (At4g12970), suggesting that stomatal development is finely regulated by competitive binding of positive and negative regulators to the same receptor. Notably, STOMAGEN is expressed in inner tissues (the mesophyll) of immature leaves but not in the epidermal tissues where stomata develop. This study provides evidence of a mesophyll-derived positive regulator of stomatal density. Our findings provide a conceptual advancement in understanding stomatal development: inner photosynthetic tissues optimize their function by regulating stomatal density in the epidermis for efficient uptake of CO(2).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / anatomy & histology
  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Epidermis / cytology
  • Plant Epidermis / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / cytology
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Stomata / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • EPF1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • EPF2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Stomagen protein, Arabidopsis
  • Transcription Factors
  • too many mouths protein, Arabidopsis
  • Carbon Dioxide