Sanjaya A, Muramatsu R, Sato S, Suzuki M, Sasaki S, Ishikawa H, Fujii Y, Asano M, Itoh RD, Kanamaru K, Ohbu S, Abe T, Kazama Y, Fujiwara MT.
In Arabidopsis thaliana, the Ethylene-dependent Gravitropism-deficient and Yellow-green 1 (EGY1) gene encodes a thylakoid membrane-localized protease involved in chloroplast development in leaf mesophyll cells. Recently, EGY1 was also found to be crucial for the maintenance of grana in mesophyll chloroplasts. To further explore the function of EGY1 in leaf tissues, we examined the phenotype of chloroplasts in the leaf epidermal guard cells and pavement cells of two 40Ar17+ irradiation-derived mutants, Ar50-33-pg1 and egy1-4. Fluorescence microscopy revealed that fully expanded leaves of both egy1 mutants showed severe chlorophyll deficiency in both epidermal cell types. Guard cells in the egy1 mutant exhibited permanent defects in chloroplast formation during leaf expansion. Labeling of plastids with CaMV35S or Protodermal Factor1 (PDF1) promoter-driven stroma-targeted fluorescent proteins revealed that egy1 guard cells contained the normal number of plastids, but with moderately reduced size, compared with wild-type guard cells. Transmission electron microscopy further revealed that the development of thylakoids was impaired in the plastids of egy1 mutant guard mother cells, guard cells, and pavement cells. Collectively, these observations demonstrate that EGY1 is involved in chloroplast formation in the leaf epidermis and is particularly critical for chloroplast differentiation in guard cells.