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The Strigolactone Story

Xiaonan Xie, Kaori Yoneyama, Koichi Yoneyama

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Strigolactones (SLs) were originally isolated from plant root exudates as germination stimulants for root parasitic plants of the family Orobanchaceae, including witchweeds (Striga spp.), broomrapes (Orobanche and Phelipanche spp.), and Alectra spp., and so were regarded as detrimental to the producing plants. Their role as indispensable chemical signals for root colonization by symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi was subsequently unveiled, and SLs then became recognized as beneficial plant metabolites. In addition to these functions in the rhizosphere, it has been recently shown that SLs or their metabolites are a novel class of plant hormones that inhibit shoot branching. Furthermore, SLs are suggested to have other biological functions in rhizosphere communications and in plant growth and development.