Research Topic

Transport and Membrane Traffic in Stomatal Biology

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About this Research Topic

The stomata of plants are small pores surrounded by pairs of specialized cells, known as guard cells. They provide gaseous exchange across the impermeable cuticle of plant leaves, and balance the requirement for CO2 entry for photosynthesis against the need to reduce the transpiration of water ...

The stomata of plants are small pores surrounded by pairs of specialized cells, known as guard cells. They provide gaseous exchange across the impermeable cuticle of plant leaves, and balance the requirement for CO2 entry for photosynthesis against the need to reduce the transpiration of water vapor. Stomata thus play a key role in carbon assimilation for plant growth and in the associated water use efficiency of the plant with substantial influence on crop yields as well as on the global cycles of carbon and water.

Most plants open and close their stomata in response to changing conditions, such as light intensity, humidity, and CO2 concentration. Guard cells regulate the aperture of the stomatal pore through changes in osmotic pressure. They open the stomatal pore by transport and accumulation of osmotically active solutes, mainly K+ and Cl- and the organic anion malate2-, to drive water uptake and cell expansion. They close the pore by coordinating the release of these solutes through K+ and anion channels at the plasma membrane. These transport processes form the visible end of a complex network of interacting regulatory pathways that coordinate plasma membrane and tonoplast and maintain the homeostasis of the guard cell.

Homeostasis and growth depend on the control of cell volume and osmolarity. During stomatal open and close, guard cells rapidly adjust the surface area of their plasma. The volume of guard cell can increase up to 50% when stomata open, and the plasma membrane area change by a similar percentage. Vesicle traffic adds membrane surface and contributes to wall remodeling as the cell grows, and they must therefore be coordinated with ion transport. Recent discoveries of physical interactions between conserved subsets of vesicle-trafficking proteins and ion channels identify a core set of molecular links are important for this coordination.

This Research Topic aims to collect articles addressing the important question related to ion transport and membrane traffic in stomatal biology from their molecular characteristics to their function. Studies presenting novel and fundamental insights into the origin, mechanisms, functions of guard cell ion transport and membrane traffic, as well as new methodology and modelling in stomatal research, are welcome. We encourage submission of the following article types: Original Research, Opinions, Perspectives, Mini Reviews or Reviews, and Methods covering the following topics:

- Guard cell transporter structure and function
- The mechanism of ion transport and homeostasis in stomatal physiology
- The signaling and regulatory networks of guard cell ion transporters
- Membrane traffic and coordination in stomatal regulation
- The new technologies and methods in stomatal research


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