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AtEDT1/HDG11 regulates stomatal density and water‐use efficiency via ERECTA and E2Fa

Guo, Xiao‐Yu, Wang, Yao, Zhao, Ping‐Xia, Xu, Ping, Yu, Guo‐Hua, Zhang, Li‐Yong, Xiong, Yan, Xiang, Cheng‐Bin
Thenew phytologist 2019 v.223 no.3 pp. 1478-1488
Arabidopsis, crops, drought, drought tolerance, gene overexpression, genes, leaves, loci, mitosis, mutants, ploidy, transcription (genetics), transcription factors, water use efficiency
Improvement of crop drought resistance and water‐use efficiency (WUE) has been a major endeavor in agriculture. Arabidopsis ENHANCED DROUGHT TOLERANCE1/HOMEODOMAIN GLABROUS11 (AtEDT1/HDG11), a homeodomain‐START transcription factor we previously identified from the enhanced drought tolerance1 mutant (edt1), has been demonstrated to improve drought tolerance and WUE significantly in multiple plant species when constitutively overexpressed. Here, we report the genetic evidence suggesting a genetic pathway, which consists of EDT1/HDG11, ERECTA, and E2Fa loci, and regulates WUE by modulating stomatal density. AtEDT1/HDG11 transcriptionally activates ERECTA by binding to homeodomain‐binding (HD) cis‐elements in the ERECTA promoter. ERECTA, in turn, depends on E2Fa to modulate the expression of cell cycle‐related genes. This modulation affects the transition from mitosis to endocycle, leading to increased ploidy levels in leaf cells, and therefore increased cell size and decreased stomatal density. Our results suggest a possible EDT1/HDG11‐ERECTA‐E2Fa genetic pathway that reduces stomatal density by increasing cell size and provide a new avenue to improve WUE of crops.