Research NewsPlant Biology

Plants, Like Animals, May Make Use of Peptide Signals

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Science  06 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5280, pp. 1338-1339
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5280.1338


For many years, plant biologists assumed that the rigid cell walls of plant cells close off one major avenue of cell-to-cell communication—the peptide and protein signals through which animal cells coordinate their activities. These signaling molecules, the prevailing wisdom held, are just too big to penetrate the plant cell wall. But a cluster of recent findings is changing that view. A Report in a recent issue of Science described a peptide signal that regulates the formation of nitrogen-fixing root nodules in legumes. And a series of findings, reported on page 1406 and elsewhere, shows that plant cells have receptor molecules that look very much like the peptide receptors of animal cells.