Jigsaw Puzzle: The undersurface of a leaf is tiled with flat cells in a puzzling pattern (outlined in green).

Jigsaw Puzzle: The undersurface of a leaf is tiled with flat cells in a puzzling pattern (outlined in green). This inter-digitating pattern is controlled by antagonistic signaling pathways that make alternating lobes and indentations. Green stomata dot the surface. These are breathing pores, flanked by two kidney shaped guard cells. The red splotches are chloroplasts, that harvest light energy to make plant sugars.

• Blue light/UV-A activates light sensing proteins (phototropins and cryptochromes) which set off a signaling cascade. A proton pump on the cell membrane is activated, making the inside of the cell more negative. This opens voltage-activated potassium channels which let K+ into the guard cells. Water follows the ions (osmosis) and the cells become turgid. This swelling opens the pore. Stomatal opening can be controlled by photosynthesis, drought stress and much more. More images and explanation at: http://goo.gl/5aBFh

Watch: Las estomas – the stomata

The higher magnifications are especially lovely.

Image: Confocal microscopic image of lower surface of Arabidopsis leaf; By D. Page Baluch, Mrinalini Muralidharan and Tsafrir Mor, Arizona State University.


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28 Responses to Jigsaw Puzzle: The undersurface of a leaf is tiled with flat cells in a puzzling pattern (outlined in green).

  1. Rajini Rao says:

    Wonderful to hear, thank you Keith Phillips 🙂

  2. mary Zeman says:

    confocal microscopy has come so far since I was in grad school- such beautiful photos!

  3. Rajini Rao says:

    mary Zeman , also the technology to tag genes with GFP add to the repertoire of stains. In this image, the green comes from a lipase-GFP fusion construct that outlines the cells so beautifully.

  4. mary Zeman says:

    The precise labelling is very impressive.  

  5. Rajini Rao says:

    Very nice, Mahesh Sreekandath . Listening now!

  6. This only makes me love plants even more.  They rock.

  7. Rajini Rao says:

    I have to agree, Michelle Beissel . Although my work deals with animals/humans, I find plant science really cool and interesting.

  8. Rajini Rao says:

    Feisal Kamil , yes they are! The development of neighboring cells is coordinated so that the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly. As for the pair of guard cells (the kidney shaped ones flanking stoma), they arise from a single cell after division..the wall between them dissolves to leave a pore.

  9. Rajini Rao says:

    Hello there, Feisal! (Wo)manning Science Sunday for a few hours. Let me know if you see any good/funny candidates in  your stream?

  10. Rajini Rao says:

    Unlike Thomas Kang ‘s stoma post, this one did not degenerate into plant/animal hanky panky 🙂

  11. Rajini Rao says:

    NASA footage of solar flare? Checking it out now, thanks.

  12. wow, the wall dissolves to leave a pore, that is just fantastic.

  13. Rajini Rao says:

    Michelle Beissel , there can be no rigid cell wall there anyway, since the pore has to open and close. Just a thin cell membrane is left.

  14. btw I flagged as inappropriate Shiva’s ‘greeting’ since he seems to hate men (one guy in thousands of young women he has circled). lol

  15. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks, Michelle Beissel 🙂

  16. I think “vulture” is a useful term to describe this phenomenon Michelle Beissel 

    and. I’m finally getting the hang of cryptography and physics: Rajini Rao 

    In retrospect, I don’t think the Big, Bad Wolf was even half as Big, or Bad, as he once professed. Once upon a time, while he was innocently tying up the loose ends of his shabby sheep’s clothing, minding everybody’s business but his own, a blow-torch came along to scorch away those threads… Another incarnation: an Angry Bird rose up from the ashes. He too, was soon to feel the force that through the green fuse drives the flower that could pluck him from his perch.

     I’ve got plenty of ash, but sackcloth is hard to find these days.

    True masochist: Harder, darling ,harder!  I’m… I’m nearly.. So near…

    Psychopathic sadist: NEVER!

  17. Rajini Rao says:

    Thank  you, Kevin Clift . Interesting links, both. Adding Felix Woitzel to my circles 🙂

  18. Kevin Clift says:

    I just posted another of his on a theme that we have both explored in SS; reaction-diffusion.  I did not flag it for SS but if you are short of art this week you might wish to consider it, Rajini Rao .

  19. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll reshare in an hour or so. We seem to have hit ScienceSunday fatigue! 😛

    We have been trending all day, so perhaps our audience is getting a little bit tired?

  20. Kevin Clift says:

    Perhaps its your magic touch. Edit: the trending every week bit (;

  21. Rajini Rao says:

    Timely clarification in the edit 😀


  22. merci a ce photo qui a donne la plaisir avec tou le monde

  23. Rajini Rao says:

    Mon plaisir! 🙂

  24. de rien ce la veritè pardon miss est ce que accepte me invitation pour avons de amis

  25. rajiini sory for theat readin becose i find my self comfortable with you because i know you’re a women through her choice of colour

  26. PAUL RAJ says:

    it is like a blood smear

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