Message in a bottle: small signalling peptide outputs during growth and development

J Exp Bot. 2013 Dec;64(17):5281-96. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ert283. Epub 2013 Sep 7.


Classical and recently found phytohormones play an important role in plant growth and development, but plants additionally control these processes through small signalling peptides. Over 1000 potential small signalling peptide sequences are present in the Arabidopsis genome. However, to date, a mere handful of small signalling peptides have been functionally characterized and few have been linked to a receptor. Here, we assess the potential small signalling peptide outputs, namely the molecular, biochemical, and morphological changes they trigger in Arabidopsis. However, we also include some notable studies in other plant species, in order to illustrate the varied effects that can be induced by small signalling peptides. In addition, we touch on some evolutionary aspects of small signalling peptides, as studying their signalling outputs in single-cell green algae and early land plants will assist in our understanding of more complex land plants. Our overview illustrates the growing interest in the small signalling peptide research area and its importance in deepening our understanding of plant growth and development.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; development; evolution; growth; small signalling peptides; transcription factors..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Ligands
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Development / physiology*
  • Plants / genetics
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Peptides
  • Transcription Factors