Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 59 (4) : 240ĘC260, Apr 2017     Invited Expert Review


What are the evolutionary origins of stomatal responses to abscisic acid in land plants?[OA]

Frances C. Sussmilch, Timothy J. Brodribb and Scott A. M. McAdam
School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

E-mail: Scott A. M. McAdam (

Online on 17 Jan 2017 at and


The evolution of active stomatal closure in response to leaf water deficit, mediated by the hormone abscisic acid (ABA), has been the subject of recent debate. Two different models for the timing of the evolution of this response recur in the literature. A single-step model for stomatal control suggests that stomata evolved active, ABA-mediated control of stomatal aperture, when these structures first appeared, prior to the divergence of bryophyte and vascular plant lineages. In contrast, a gradualistic model for stomatal control proposes that the most basal vascular plant stomata responded passively to changes in leaf water status. This model suggests that active ABA-driven mechanisms for stomatal responses to water status instead evolved after the divergence of seed plants, culminating in the complex, ABA-mediated responses observed in modern angiosperms. Here we review the findings that form the basis for these two models, including recent work that provides critical molecular insights into resolving this intriguing debate, and find strong evidence to support a gradualistic model for stomatal evolution.

Received 17 Dec 2016   Accepted 15 Jan 2017
© 2017 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences

This Article
  Full Text
  Full Text (PDF)
  Supporting information
  E-mail Link to this Article
  Export Citation for this Article
Citing Articles
  Cited By
Google Scholar
   Articles by Frances C. Sussmilch
   Articles by Timothy J. Brodribb
   Articles by Scott A. M. McAdam
   Articles by Frances C. Sussmilch
   Articles by Timothy J. Brodribb
   Articles by Scott A. M. McAdam
Editorial Office, Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, Institute of Botany, CAS
No. 20 Nanxincun, Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China
Tel: +86 10 6283 6133 Fax: +86 10 8259 2636 E-mail:

Copyright © 2018 by the Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Online ISSN: 1744-7909 Print ISSN: 1672-9072 CN: 11-5067/Q