PerspectivePlant biology

Advances in Understanding Brassinosteroid Signaling

Science's STKE  26 Sep 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 354, pp. pe36
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3542006pe36

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Abstract

Brassinosteroids (BRs) function as signaling molecules in plants and are involved in processes such as stem elongation, vascular differentiation, male fertility, timing of senescence and flowering, leaf development, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Unlike animal steroids that are perceived by nuclear receptors, BRs are perceived by transmembrane receptor kinase complexes that initiate a phosphorylation-mediated signaling cascade to transduce the steroid signal. BR binding to the extracellular domain of the receptor BRI1 induces kinase activation and hetero-oligomerization with the second transmembrane kinase BAK1. Activated BRI1 then dissociates from the BRI1-interacting protein BKI1, a newly identified negative regulator of BR signaling. In the presence of BR, the kinase BIN2, which is the Arabidopsis homolog of GSK3 (glycogen synthase kinase 3), is inhibited by an unknown mechanism, leading to dephosphorylation of BES1 and BZR1 inside the nucleus. This allows BES1 and BZR1 to homodimerize or combine with other transcription factors to bind to promoters of BR-responsive genes. These studies of BR signaling in plants have revealed signaling pathways that are distinctly different from related ones operating in animal cells.

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