Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stomatal defense/defence

Don't forget that this blog ran last year. There are all sorts of juicy postings lurking down there. You can select by topic or just browse. For example I was just looking what I'd posted on Plant Physiology last year (to prevent repetition) when I remembered this posting and decided it WAS worthy of repetition because it ties together so many different parts of this course, ecology evolution and physiology.

How do the various processes that affect stomatal opening and closure coordinate their actions? What happens if the stomata get conflicting signals?

I just started to do some reading on this when I came across this amazing paper from 2006 describing how stomata close upon detection of potential microbial pathogens to prevent the infection of the leaf interior. That's pretty cool but they also show how pathogenic bacteria have evolved strategies to suppress the closure of stomata! This appears to be brand new research and I think it is both the first demonstration of the defensive role of stomata as well as the first demonstration of bacteria overcoming this defense.

The journal editors obviously thought was pretty cool too since there's a nice preview of the research.

Plant Stomata Function in Innate Immunity against Bacterial Invasion
Cell, Volume 126, Issue 5, 8 September 2006, Pages 969-980
Maeli Melotto, William Underwood, Jessica Koczan, Kinya Nomura and Sheng Yang He

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