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Deviating From The Beaten Track: New Twists In Brassinosteroid Receptor Function

Sebastian Wolf

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A key feature of plants is their plastic development tailored to the environmental conditions. To integrate environmental signals with genetic growth regulatory programs, plants rely on a number of hormonal pathways, which are intimately connected at multiple levels. Brassinosteroids (BRs), a class of plant sterol hormones, are perceived by cell surface receptors and trigger responses instrumental in tailoring developmental programs to environmental cues. Arguably, BR signalling is one of the best-characterized plant signalling pathways, and the molecular composition of the core signal transduction cascade seems clear. However, BR research continues to reveal new twists to re-shape our view on this key signalling circuit. Here, exciting novel findings pointing to the plasma membrane as a key site for BR signalling modulation and integration with other pathways are reviewed and new inputs into the BR signalling pathway and emerging “non-canonical” functions of the BR receptor complex are highlighted. Together, this new evidence underscores the complexity of plant signalling integration and serves as a reminder that highly-interconnected signalling pathways frequently comprise non-linear aspects which are difficult to convey in classical conceptual models.