Volume 94 (2018) Issue 2 Pages 59-74
The identification of hormones and their receptors in multicellular organisms is one of the most exciting research areas and has lead to breakthroughs in understanding how their growth and development are regulated. In particular, peptide hormones offer advantages as cell-to-cell signals in that they can be synthesized rapidly and have the greatest diversity in their structure and function. Peptides often undergo post-translational modifications and proteolytic processing to generate small oligopeptide hormones. In plants, such small post-translationally modified peptides constitute the largest group of peptide hormones. We initially explored this type of peptide hormone using bioassay-guided fractionation and later by in silico gene screening coupled with biochemical peptide detection, which led to the identification of four types of novel peptide hormones in plants. We also identified specific receptors for these peptides and transferases required for their post-translational modification. This review summarizes how we discovered these peptide hormone–receptor pairs and post-translational modification enzymes, and how these molecules function in plant growth, development and environmental adaptation.