The plant innate immunity response in stomatal guard cells invokes G-protein-dependent ion channel regulation

Wei Zhang, Sheng Yang He, Sarah M. Assmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Summary Stomata in the epidermis of terrestrial plants are important for CO2 absorption and transpirational water loss, and are also potential points of entry for pathogens. Stomatal opening and closure are controlled by distinct mechanisms. Arabidopsis stomata have been shown to close in response to bacteria and pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) as part of PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI). Here we show that flg22, a PAMP derived from bacterial flagellin, also inhibits light-induced stomatal opening. Consistent with our observations on stomatal opening, flg22 inhibits the inward K + channels (K+in currents) of guard cells that mediate K+ uptake during stomatal opening. Similar to previously documented K+ current changes triggered by exogenous elevation of H2O2 and nitric oxide (NO), with prolonged duration of flg22 exposure the outward K+ channels (K+out currents) of guard cells are also inhibited. In null mutants of the flg22 receptor, FLS2, flg22 regulation of stomatal opening, K+in currents, and K+out currents is eliminated. flg22 also fails to elicit these responses in null mutants of the sole canonical G-protein α subunit, GPA1. The bacterial toxin, coronatine, produced by several pathogenic strains of Pseudomonas syringae, reverses the inhibitory effects of flg22 on both K+in currents and stomatal opening, indicating interplay between plant and pathogen in the regulation of plant ion channels. Thus, the PAMP-triggered stomatal response involves K+ channel regulation, and this regulation is dependent on signaling via cognate PAMP receptors and a heterotrimeric G-protein. These new findings provide insights into the largely elusive signaling process underlying PTI-associated guard cell responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)984-996
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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