Mix and match: EPF/EPFL peptide signaling in plant development

Torii KU1,2

  1. Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biology, University of Washington.
  2. Principal Investigator, Institute of Transformative Biomolecules, Nagoya University.

Plant peptide signals mediate both local cell-cell communications and long-distance root-to-shoot signaling. Secreted cysteine-rich peptides in the EPIDERMAL PATTERNING FACTOR (EPF)- EPF LIKE (EPFL) family regulate diverse aspects of plant development, including shoot meristem size, inflorescence architecture, vascular differentiation, and stomatal development. The EPFL peptides are versatile: The same peptide could function in an autocrine or paracrine manner. Moreover, related EPF/EPFL family members could work in a unique, redundant, or even in an antagonistic manner, depending on the specific developmental programs or tissue-specific contexts. Thus far, ERECTA-family receptor kinases are the known receptors for EPF/EPFL peptides. As such, this peptide hormone-receptor system poses an important question of how the same receptor could perceive multiple peptide ligands to elicit such diverse developmental outcomes. Our recent study on the developmental functions of EPFL2 peptide revealed a feedback circuit between the peptide-receptor system and auxin response as a mechanism for maintaining proper auxin maxima during leaf margin morphogenesis. Our study highlights the intersection of localized peptide signaling and universal small chemical hormone auxin in shaping plant development and morphogenesis.