Plant peptides: keys to understanding plant growth and stress responses

14 January 2017
​Peptides are well-known in the scientific community as signal molecules, but until recently, little has been known about their functions in plants. New research has shed light on what peptides mean for plants – not only in their growth and development, but also in how they regulate their reactions to stressors such as drought, heat and pathogens. A Special Issue of Journal of Experimental Botany (JXB) collects new papers that cover a combination of genetic, biochemical and developmental studies that shed light into the plant peptides’ functions and actions – insights that can be easily translated to crop plants.

VIB research into these fundamental regulatory proteins is highlighted in this Special Issue of JXB, which was edited by Barbara De Coninck (VIB-KU Leuven) and Ive De Smet (VIB-UGent). A paper published by the team of Ive De Smet (VIB-UGent), which explores the role of a peptide called CEP5 in root development, was included in the compilation. Another paper authored by Ive and several international colleagues defines a new role to the RALFL34 plant peptide family, which is responsible for controlling the position and development of roots. The research team explored the role of RALFL34 through in-depth genetic profiling and analysis of mutant model plant specimens. A third VIB paper was included in the form of a study led by Pierre Hilson (former VIB-UGent; Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, UMR1318 INRA-AgroParisTechs at the time of publication) and his colleagues from the Plant Systems Biology Department of VIB-UGent, which explored the processing of the GOLVEN 1 peptide that controls cell elongation in plants.

Barbara De Coninck (VIB-KU Leuven): “Few plant peptides have been investigated in detail – this is only the tip of the iceberg. We estimate that plants make over 1,000 peptides – and probably many more – with huge potential in future studies that could impact agriculture worldwide.”

Plant peptides - taking them to the next level. Journal of Experimental Botany. Edited by Barbara De Coninck and Ive De Smet


This topic & more will be discussed at the VIB conference 'At The Forefront Of Plant Research'


Barbara De Coninck (VIB-KU Leuven) and Ive De Smet (VIB-UGent).