Small peptides, big importance: Small, secreted peptides as novel regulators of symbiosis and nutrient acquisition

It is becoming increasingly evident that small, secreted peptides (SSPs) are important regulators of plant development and responses to stress. Traditional gene prediction algorithms are biased toward larger coding sequences and have therefore been inadequate in the hunt for plant SSPs. To address this gap in knowledge, de Bang et al. developed improved SSP prediction tools and reanalyzed 144 Medicago truncatula transcriptomes representing various abiotic and biotic stress conditions. SSPs with predicted importance in nutrient acquisition and bacterial symbiosis were validated by applying synthetic peptides to plants roots. This work reaffirms the importance of SSPs in plants and provides an improved computational framework for the prediction of functionally-relevant peptides. (Summary by Philip Carella) Plant Physiol. 10.1104/pp.17.01096

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