Ectopic BASL Reveals Tissue Cell Polarity throughout Leaf Development in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Tissue-wide polarity fields, in which cell polarity is coordinated across the tissue, have been described for planar organs such as the Drosophila wing and are considered important for coordinating growth and differentiation [1]. In planar plant organs, such as leaves, polarity fields have been identified for subgroups of cells, such as stomatal lineages [2], trichomes [3, 4], serrations [5], or early developmental stages [6]. Here, we show that ectopic induction of the stomatal protein BASL (BREAKING OF ASYMMETRY IN THE STOMATAL LINEAGE) reveals a tissue-wide epidermal polarity field in leaves throughout development. Ectopic GFP-BASL is typically localized toward the proximal end of cells and to one lobe of mature pavement cells, revealing a polarity field that aligns with the proximodistal axis of the leaf (base to tip). The polarity field is largely parallel to the midline of the leaf but diverges in more lateral positions, particularly at later stages in development, suggesting it may be deformed during growth. The polarity field is observed in the speechless mutant, showing that it is independent of stomatal lineages, and is observed in isotropic cells, showing that cell shape anisotropy is not required for orienting polarity. Ectopic BASL forms convergence and divergence points at serrations, mirroring epidermal PIN polarity patterns, suggesting a common underlying polarity mechanism. Thus, we show that similar to the situation in animals, planar plant organs have a tissue-wide cell polarity field, and this may provide a general cellular mechanism for guiding growth and differentiation.