Plant growth is regulated by an intricate network of hormonal signaling pathways. These small-molecule hormones cause changes in gene expression that are associated with cell expansion and division and changes in development. Paradoxically, six of these hormones appear to have largely overlapping functions, yet the loss of response to any one hormone cannot be compensated by the action of another plant hormone. Among these hormones are the brassinosteroids (BRs), the polyhydroxylated steroid hormones of plants. The emerging picture of BR signal transduction diverges radically from the paradigms of animal steroid signaling, which generally involve the action of members of the nuclear receptor superfamily. BRs bind the extracellular domain of a small family of leucine-rich-repeat receptor kinases to activate intracellular signal transduction cascades that regulate the expression of hundreds of genes. The signaling pathway involves a cell surface receptor complex, a glycogen synthase kinase 3, a kelch-containing serine/threonine phosphatase, and a novel family of basic helix-loop-helix and Myc-like plant specific transcription factors. The receptor and each of the signaling components were identified in Arabidopsis thaliana, and knowledge of their sequences allowed identification of orthologs in rice, tomato, barley, and pea.