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Circadian Stomatal Rhythms in Epidermal Peels from Vicia faba1

  • Holly L. Gorton
  • William E. Williams
  • Mary Elizabeth Binns
  • Craig N. Gemmell
  • Ellen A. Leheny
  • Andrew C. Shepherd
Publication Date
Aug 01, 1989


Circadian rhythms in stomatal aperture and in stomatal conductance have been observed previously. Here we investigate circadian rhythms in apertures that persist in functionally isolated guard cells in epidermal peels of Vicia faba, and we compare these rhythms with rhythms in stomatal conductance in attached leaves. Functionally isolated guard cells kept in constant light display a rhythmic change in aperture superimposed on a continuous opening trend. The rhythm free-runs with a period of about 22 hours and is temperature compensated between 20 and 30°C. Functionally isolated guard cell pairs are therefore capable of sustaining a true circadian rhythm without interaction with mesophyll cells. Stomatal conductance in whole leaves displays a more robust rhythm, also temperature-compensated, and with a period similar to that observed for the rhythm in stomatal aperture in epidermal peels. When analyzed individually, some stomata in epidermal peels showed a robust rhythm for several days while others showed little rhythmicity or damped out rapidly. Rhythmic periods may vary between individual stomata, and this may lead to desynchronization within the population.

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