Multiple transcriptional factors control stomata development in rice (New Phytol) ($)

In the model plant Arabidopsis, stomatal development occurs in a scattered pattern with that avoids direct contact between them. In rice and other monocots, the stomata are distributed in a uniformly oriented manner. Such unique patterning and morphology of stomata intrigued Wu et al. to examine if the transcriptional factors (TFs) identified in Arabidopsis share similar function in rice. In Arabidopsis the main bHLH transcriptional factors SPCH (SPEECHLESS), MUTE and FAMA promote stem cell identity to asymmetric cell division leading to stomata and pavement cell formation. Using T-DNA insertion alleles and gene editing, similar functions for these TFs have been observed in rice as in Arabidopsis. In addition the authors identified new roles for SHR (SHORTROOT) and SCR (SCARECROW) in stomata development. (Summary by Suresh Damodaran) New Phytol. 10.1111/nph.15766