A RALF-Brassinosteroid morpho-signaling circuit regulates Arabidopsis hypocotyl cell shape

Plant cells survey and modulate their cell wall to control their shape and anisotropic growth. Signaling mediated by the plant steroid hormones brassinosteroids (BR) plays a central role in coordinating cell wall status and cell growth, and alterations in the cell wall BR feedback loop leads to life-threatening defects in tissue and cellular integrity. How the status of the cell wall is relayed to BR signaling remains largely unclear. Increasing evidence shows that RAPID ALKALANIZATION FACTORs (RALFs), a class of secreted peptides, play structural and signaling roles at the cell surface. Here we show that perception of RALF23 promotes the formation and signaling of the main BR receptor complex formed by BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1) and BRI1 BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE1 BRASSINOSTEROID ASSOCIATED KINASE 1 (BAK1). The loss of the plasma membrane localized RALF receptor complex FERONIA (FER) LORELEI LIKE GPI anchor protein 1 (LLG1) leads to defects in cell expansion and anisotropy, as well as uncontrolled BRI1 BAK1 complex formation and signaling. RALF23 bioactivity relies on pectin status and its perception induces changes in pectin composition and the activity of pectin-modifying enzymes. Our observations suggest a model in which RALF23 functions as a cell wall informed signaling cue initiating a feedback loop that solicits BR signaling, modifies the cell wall, and coordinates cell morphogenesis.