Nitric oxide (NO) is a ubiquitous signaling molecule involved in diverse physiological processes, including plant senescence and stomatal closure. The NO and cyclic GMP (cGMP) cascade is the main NO signaling pathway in animals, but whether this pathway operates in plant cells, and the mechanisms of its action, remain unclear. Here, we assessed the possibility that the nitrated cGMP derivative 8-nitro-cGMP functions in guard cell signaling. Mass spectrometry and immunocytochemical analyses showed that abscisic acid and NO induced the synthesis of 8-nitro-cGMP in guard cells in the presence of reactive oxygen species. 8-Nitro-cGMP triggered stomatal closure, but 8-bromoguanosine 39,59-cyclic monophosphate (8-bromocGMP), a membrane-permeating analog of cGMP, did not. However, in the dark, 8-bromo-cGMP induced stomatal opening but 8-nitro-cGMP did not. Thus, cGMP and its nitrated derivative play different roles in the signaling pathways that lead to stomatal opening and closure. Moreover, inhibitor and genetic studies showed that calcium, cyclic adenosine-59- diphosphate-ribose, and SLOW ANION CHANNEL1 act downstream of 8-nitro-cGMP. This study therefore demonstrates that 8-nitro-cGMP acts as a guard cell signaling molecule and that a NO/8-nitro-cGMP signaling cascade operates in guard cells.
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