A membrane receptor kinase targets a plant steroid hormone signaling complex to shape growth

Plants, just like animals, contain growth promoting steroid hormones. The active hormone is sensed at the plasma membrane by a plant-unique receptor kinase. For activation, the plant steroid receptor relies on a shape-complementary helper protein.

Swiss Plant Science member Michael Hothorn and his team at the University of Geneva have now uncovered that these helper proteins are targeted by other receptor kinases termed BIR proteins. The steroid receptor and BIRs compete for binding to the helper protein, thereby shaping plant growth in different cells and tissues. The study was published on May 07, 2018 in Nature Plants.

Reference publication
The SERK3 elongated allele defines a role for BIR ectodomains in brassinosteroid signalling
Ulrich Hohmann, Joël Nicolet, Andrea Moretti, Ludwig A. Hothorn & Michael Hothorn
Nature Plants (2018),  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-018-0150-9

News, Faculty of Science of the University of Geneva, Section of Biology