Kutter C, Schöb H, Stadler M, Meins F, Si-Ammour A
Plant Cell 19 (8) 2417-2429 [2007-08-00; online 2007-08-17]
The proper number and distribution of stomata are essential for the efficient exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the aerial parts of plants. We show that the density and development of stomatal complexes on the epidermis of Arabidopsis thaliana leaves depend, in part, on the microRNA-mediated regulation of Agamous-like16 (AGL16), which is a member of the MADS box protein family. AGL16 mRNA is targeted for sequence-specific degradation by miR824, a recently evolved microRNA conserved in the Brassicaceae and encoded at a single genetic locus. Primary stomatal complexes can give rise to higher-order complexes derived from satellite meristemoids. Expression of a miR824-resistant AGL16 mRNA, but not the wild-type AGL16 mRNA, in transgenic plants increased the incidence of stomata in higher-order complexes. By contrast, reduced expression of AGL16 mRNA in the agl16-1 deficiency mutant and in transgenic lines overexpressing miR824 decreased the incidence of stomata in higher-order complexes. These findings and the nonoverlapping patterns of AGL16 mRNA and miR824 localization led us to propose that the miR824/AGL16 pathway functions in the satellite meristemoid lineage of stomatal development.