Perception of a conserved family of plant signalling peptides by the receptor kinase HSL3

Plant genomes encode hundreds of secreted peptides; however, relatively few have been characterised. We report here an uncharacterised, stress-induced family of plant signalling peptides, which we call CTNIPs. Based on the role of the common co-receptor BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1-ASSOCIATED KINASE 1 (BAK1) in CTNIP-induced responses, we identified the orphan receptor kinase HAESA-LIKE 3 (HSL3) as the CTNIP receptor via a proteomics approach. CTNIP binding, ligand-triggered complex formation with BAK1, and induced downstream responses all involve HSL3. Notably, the HSL3-CTNIP signalling module is evolutionarily ancient, predating the divergence of extant angiosperms. The identification of this signalling module will help establish its physiological role and provides a resource to understand further receptor-ligand co-evolution.