Guard cells are located in the leaf epidermis and pairs of guard cells surround and form stomatal pores, which regulate CO2 influx from the atmosphere into leaves for photosynthetic carbon fixation. Stomatal guard cells also regulate water loss of plants via transpiration to the atmosphere. Signal transduction mechanisms in guard cells integrate a multitude of different stimuli to modulate stomatal apertures. Stomata open in response to light. Stomata close in response to drought stress, elevated CO2, ozone and low humidity. In response to drought, plants synthesize the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) that triggers closing of stomatal pores. Guard cells have become a highly developed model system for dissecting signal transduction mechanisms in plants and for elucidating how individual signaling mechanisms can interact within a network in a single cell. Many new findings have been made in the last few years. This chapter is an update of an electronic interactive chapter in the previous edition of The Arabidopsis Book (Mäser et al. 2003). Here we focus on mechanisms for which genes and mutations have been characterized, including signaling components for which there is substantial signaling, biochemical and genetic evidence. Ion channels have been shown to represent targets of early signal transduction mechanisms and provide functional signaling and quantitative analysis points to determine where and how mutations affect branches within the guard cell signaling network. Although a substantial number of genes and proteins that function in guard cell signaling have been identified in recent years, there are many more left to be identified and the protein-protein interactions within this network will be an important subject of future research. A fully interactive clickable electronic version of this publication can be accessed at the following web site: http://www-biology.ucsd.edu/labs/schroeder/clickablegc2/. The interactive clickable version includes the following features:
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