Phytosulfokine-α controls hypocotyl length and cell expansion in Arabidopsis thaliana through phytosulfokine receptor 1

PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21054. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021054. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


The disulfated peptide growth factor phytosulfokine-α (PSK-α) is perceived by LRR receptor kinases. In this study, a role for PSK signaling through PSK receptor PSKR1 in Arabidopsis thaliana hypocotyl cell elongation is established. Hypocotyls of etiolated pskr1-2 and pskr1-3 seedlings, but not of pskr2-1 seedlings were shorter than wt due to reduced cell elongation. Treatment with PSK-α did not promote hypocotyl growth indicating that PSK levels were saturating. Tyrosylprotein sulfotransferase (TPST) is responsible for sulfation and hence activation of the PSK precursor. The tpst-1 mutant displayed shorter hypocotyls with shorter cells than wt. Treatment of tpst-1 seedlings with PSK-α partially restored elongation growth in a dose-dependent manner. Hypocotyl elongation was significantly enhanced in tpst-1 seedlings at nanomolar PSK-α concentrations. Cell expansion was studied in hypocotyl protoplasts. WT and pskr2-1 protoplasts expanded in the presence of PSK-α in a dose-dependent manner. By contrast, pskr1-2 and pskr1-3 protoplasts were unresponsive to PSK-α. Protoplast swelling in response to PSK-α was unaffected by ortho-vanadate, which inhibits the plasma membrane H(+)-ATPase. In maize (Zea mays L.), coleoptile protoplast expansion was similarly induced by PSK-α in a dose-dependent manner and was dependent on the presence of K(+) in the media. In conclusion, PSK-α signaling of hypocotyl elongation and protoplast expansion occurs through PSKR1 and likely involves K(+) uptake, but does not require extracellular acidification by the plasma membrane H(+)-ATPase.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypocotyl / cytology*
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • PSK-alpha protein, plant
  • PSKR1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Plant Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface