In this review, we compare knowledge about the recently discovered strigolactone signaling pathway and the well established gibberellin signaling pathway to identify gaps of knowledge and putative research directions in strigolactone biology. Communication between and inside cells is integral for the vitality of living organisms. Hormonal signaling cascades form a large part of this communication and an understanding of both their complexity and interactive nature is only beginning to emerge. In plants, the strigolactone (SL) signaling pathway is the most recent addition to the classically acting group of hormones and, although fundamental insights have been made, knowledge about the nature and impact of SL signaling is still cursory. This narrow understanding is in spite of the fact that SLs influence a specific spectrum of processes, which includes shoot branching and root system architecture in response, partly, to environmental stimuli. This makes these hormones ideal tools for understanding the coordination of plant growth processes, mechanisms of long-distance communication and developmental plasticity. Here, we summarize current knowledge about SL signaling and employ the well-characterized gibberellin (GA) signaling pathway as a scaffold to highlight emerging features as well as gaps in our knowledge in this context. GA signaling is particularly suitable for this comparison because both signaling cascades share key features of hormone perception and of immediate downstream events. Therefore, our comparative view demonstrates the possible level of complexity and regulatory interfaces of SL signaling.
Keywords: D53/SMXL; Hormonal signaling; Long-distance communication; SCF complex.