Brassinosteroid coordinates cell layer interactions in plants via cell wall and tissue mechanics

Science. 2023 Jun 23;380(6651):1275-1281. doi: 10.1126/science.adf0752. Epub 2023 Jun 22.


Growth coordination between cell layers is essential for development of most multicellular organisms. Coordination may be mediated by molecular signaling and/or mechanical connectivity between cells, but how genes modify mechanical interactions between layers is unknown. Here we show that genes driving brassinosteroid synthesis promote growth of internal tissue, at least in part, by reducing mechanical epidermal constraint. We identified a brassinosteroid-deficient dwarf mutant in the aquatic plant Utricularia gibba with twisted internal tissue, likely caused by mechanical constraint from a slow-growing epidermis. We tested this hypothesis by showing that a brassinosteroid mutant in Arabidopsis enhances epidermal crack formation, indicative of increased tissue stress. We propose that by remodeling cell walls, brassinosteroids reduce epidermal constraint, showing how genes can control growth coordination between layers by means of mechanics.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Brassinosteroids* / biosynthesis
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Lamiales* / cytology
  • Lamiales* / genetics
  • Lamiales* / metabolism
  • Plant Epidermis / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Brassinosteroids