The remarkable plasticity of plant ontogeny is shaped by hormone pathways, which not only orchestrate intrinsic developmental programs, but also convey environmental inputs. Several classes of plant hormones exist, and among them auxin, brassinosteroid and gibberellin are central for the regulation of growth in general and of cell elongation in particular. Various growth phenomena can be modulated by each of the three hormones, in a sometimes synergistic fashion, suggesting physiological redundancy and/or crosstalk between the different pathways. Whether this means that they target a common and unique transcriptome module, or rather separate growth-promoting transcriptome modules, remains unclear, however. Nevertheless, while surprisingly few molecular mediators of direct crosstalk in the proper sense have been isolated, evidence is accumulating for complex cross-regulatory relations between hormone pathways at the level of transcription, as exemplified in root meristem growth. The growing number of available genome sequences from the green lineage offers first glimpses at the evolution of hormone pathways, which can aid in understanding the multiple relationships observed between these pathways in angiosperms. The available analyses suggest that auxin, gibberellin and brassinosteroid signalling arose during land plant evolution in this order, correlating with increased morphological complexity and possibly conferring increased developmental flexibility.
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