The steroid hormones brassinosteroids take on critical roles during various plant growth processes, including control of cell proliferation and cell elongation. In this review, we discuss different strategies that have advanced our understanding of brassinosteroid function. Approaches observing whole-plant responses uncovered regulatory brassinosteroids-dependent modules controlling cell elongation. In these regulatory modules, downstream components of the brassinosteroid signaling pathway directly interact with other hormonal and environmental pathways. In alternative approaches, brassinosteroid activity has been dissected at the tissue and cellular level of above- and below-ground organs. These studies have determined the importance of brassinosteroids in cell cycle progression and in timing of cell differentiation. In addition, they have demonstrated that local reduction of the hormone sets organ boundaries. Finally, these studies uncovered the capacity of the epidermal-derived brassinosteroid signaling to control organ growth. Thus, inter-cellular communication is intimately involved in brassinosteroid-mediated growth control. The current challenge is therefore to decipher the spatiotemporal distribution of brassinosteroid activity and its impact on coherent growth and development.
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