Information processing without brains--the power of intercellular regulators in plants.
Plants exhibit different developmental strategies than animals; these are characterized by a tight linkage between environmental conditions and development. As plants have neither specialized sensory organs nor a nervous system, intercellular regulators are essential for their development. Recently, major advances have been made in understanding how intercellular regulation is achieved in plants on a molecular level. Plants use a variety of molecules for intercellular regulation: hormones are used as systemic signals that are interpreted at the individual-cell level; receptor peptide-ligand systems regulate local homeostasis; moving transcriptional regulators act in a switch-like manner over small and large distances. Together, these mechanisms coherently coordinate developmental decisions with resource allocation and growth.
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