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LSSS 2016-2017


Life Sciences Seminar Series


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Dominique Bergmann

Stanford University, USA

Making a difference: Asymmetry, fate and renewal in the stomatal lineage

Selected Publications

Mobile MUTE specifies subsidiary cells to build physiologically improved grass stomata.Raissig MT, Matos JL, Gil MX, Kornfeld A, Bettadapur A, Abrash E, Allison HR, Badgley G, Vogel JP, Berry JA, Bergmann DC
Science 2017 Mar 17; 355(6330):1215-1218


Plants optimize carbon assimilation while limiting water loss by adjusting stomatal aperture. In grasses, a developmental innovation-the addition of subsidiary cells (SCs) flanking two dumbbell-shaped guard cells (GCs)-is linked to improved stomatal physiology. Here, we identify a transcription factor necessary and sufficient for SC formation in the wheat relative Brachypodium distachyon. Unexpectedly, the transcription factor is an ortholog of the stomatal regulator AtMUTE, which defines GC precursor fate in Arabidopsis The novel role of BdMUTE in specifying lateral SCs appears linked to its acquisition of cell-to-cell mobility in Brachypodium Physiological analyses on SC-less plants experimentally support classic hypotheses that SCs permit greater stomatal responsiveness and larger range of pore apertures. Manipulation of SC formation and function in crops, therefore, may be an effective approach to enhance plant performance.

Modulators of Stomatal Lineage Signal Transduction Alter Membrane Contact Sites and Reveal Specialization among ERECTA Kinases.Ho CM, Paciorek T, Abrash E, Bergmann DC
Dev Cell 2016 Aug 22; 38(4):345-57


Signal transduction from a cell's surface to its interior requires dedicated signaling elements and a cellular environment conducive to signal propagation. Plant development, defense, and homeostasis rely on plasma membrane receptor-like kinases to perceive endogenous and environmental signals, but little is known about their immediate downstream targets and signaling modifiers. Using genetics, biochemistry, and live-cell imaging, we show that the VAP-RELATED SUPPRESSOR OF TMM (VST) family is required for ERECTA-mediated signaling in growth and cell-fate determination and reveal a role for ERECTA-LIKE2 in modulating signaling by its sister kinases. We show that VSTs are peripheral plasma membrane proteins that can form complexes with integral ER-membrane proteins, thereby potentially influencing the organization of the membrane milieu to promote efficient and differential signaling from the ERECTA-family members to their downstream intracellular targets.

Transcriptome dynamics of the stomatal lineage: birth, amplification, and termination of a self-renewing population.Adrian J, Chang J, Ballenger CE, Bargmann BO, Alassimone J, Davies KA, Lau OS, Matos JL, Hachez C, Lanctot A, Vatén A, Birnbaum KD, Bergmann DC
Dev Cell 2015 Apr 6; 33(1):107-18


Developmental transitions can be described in terms of morphology and the roles of individual genes, but also in terms of global transcriptional and epigenetic changes. Temporal dissections of transcriptome changes, however, are rare for intact, developing tissues. We used RNA sequencing and microarray platforms to quantify gene expression from labeled cells isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting to generate cell-type-specific transcriptomes during development of an adult stem-cell lineage in the Arabidopsis leaf. We show that regulatory modules in this early lineage link cell types that had previously been considered to be under separate control and provide evidence for recruitment of individual members of gene families for different developmental decisions. Because stomata are physiologically important and because stomatal lineage cells exhibit exemplary division, cell fate, and cell signaling behaviors, this dataset serves as a valuable resource for further investigations of fundamental developmental processes.

Irreversible fate commitment in the Arabidopsis stomatal lineage requires a FAMA and RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED module.Matos JL, Lau OS, Hachez C, Cruz-Ramírez A, Scheres B, Bergmann DC
Elife 2014 Oct 10; 3


The presumed totipotency of plant cells leads to questions about how specific stem cell lineages and terminal fates could be established. In the Arabidopsis stomatal lineage, a transient self-renewing phase creates precursors that differentiate into one of two epidermal cell types, guard cells or pavement cells. We found that irreversible differentiation of guard cells involves RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED (RBR) recruitment to regulatory regions of master regulators of stomatal initiation, facilitated through interaction with a terminal stomatal lineage transcription factor, FAMA. Disrupting physical interactions between FAMA and RBR preferentially reveals the role of RBR in enforcing fate commitment over its role in cell-cycle control in this developmental context. Analysis of the phenotypes linked to the modulation of FAMA and RBR sheds new light on the way iterative divisions and terminal differentiation are coordinately regulated in a plant stem-cell lineage.

Direct roles of SPEECHLESS in the specification of stomatal self-renewing cells.Lau OS, Davies KA, Chang J, Adrian J, Rowe MH, Ballenger CE, Bergmann DC
Science 2014 Sep 26; 345(6204):1605-9


Lineage-specific stem cells are critical for the production and maintenance of specific cell types and tissues in multicellular organisms. In Arabidopsis, the initiation and proliferation of stomatal lineage cells is controlled by the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor SPEECHLESS (SPCH). SPCH-driven asymmetric and self-renewing divisions allow flexibility in stomatal production and overall organ growth. How SPCH directs stomatal lineage cell behaviors, however, is unclear. Here, we improved the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay and profiled the genome-wide targets of Arabidopsis SPCH in vivo. We found that SPCH controls key regulators of cell fate and asymmetric cell divisions and modulates responsiveness to peptide and phytohormone-mediated intercellular communication. Our results delineate the molecular pathways that regulate an essential adult stem cell lineage in plants.

Brassinosteroid regulates stomatal development by GSK3-mediated inhibition of a MAPK pathway.Kim TW, Michniewicz M, Bergmann DC, Wang ZY
Nature 2012 Feb 5; 482(7385):419-22


Plants must coordinate the regulation of biochemistry and anatomy to optimize photosynthesis and water-use efficiency. The formation of stomata, epidermal pores that facilitate gas exchange, is highly coordinated with other aspects of photosynthetic development. The signalling pathways controlling stomata development are not fully understood, although mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling is known to have key roles. Here we demonstrate in Arabidopsis that brassinosteroid regulates stomatal development by activating the MAPK kinase kinase (MAPKKK) YDA (also known as YODA). Genetic analyses indicate that receptor kinase-mediated brassinosteroid signalling inhibits stomatal development through the glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3)-like kinase BIN2, and BIN2 acts upstream of YDA but downstream of the ERECTA family of receptor kinases. Complementary in vitro and in vivo assays show that BIN2 phosphorylates YDA to inhibit YDA phosphorylation of its substrate MKK4, and that activities of downstream MAPKs are reduced in brassinosteroid-deficient mutants but increased by treatment with either brassinosteroid or GSK3-kinase inhibitor. Our results indicate that brassinosteroid inhibits stomatal development by alleviating GSK3-mediated inhibition of this MAPK module, providing two key links; that of a plant MAPKKK to its upstream regulators and of brassinosteroid to a specific developmental output.