Stomata function as osmotically tunable pores that facilitate gas exchange at the surface of plants. Stomatal opening and closure are regulated by turgor changes in guard cells that result in mechanically regulated deformations of guard cell walls. However, how the molecular, architectural, and mechanical heterogeneities that exist in guard cell walls affect stomatal dynamics is unclear. In this work, stomata of wild type Arabidopsis thaliana plants or of mutants lacking normal cellulose, hemicellulose, or pectins were experimentally induced to close or open. Three-dimensional images of these stomatal complexes were collected using confocal microscopy, images were landmarked, and three-dimensional finite element models (FEMs) were constructed for each complex. Stomatal opening was simulated with a 5 MPa turgor increase. By comparing experimentally measured and computationally modeled changes in stomatal geometry across genotypes, anisotropic mechanical properties of guard cell walls were determined and mapped to cell wall components. Deficiencies in cellulose or hemicellulose were both predicted to stiffen guard cell walls, but differentially affected stomatal pore area and the degree of stomatal opening. Additionally, reducing pectin molecular mass altered the anisotropy of calculated shear moduli in guard cell walls and enhanced stomatal opening. Based on the unique architecture of guard cell walls and our modeled changes in their mechanical properties in cell wall mutants, we discuss how each polysaccharide class contributes to wall architecture and mechanics in guard cells. This study provides new insights into how the walls of guard cells are constructed to meet the mechanical requirements of stomatal dynamics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science