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Phytosulfokine (PSK) belongs to the group of plant peptide growth factors. It is a disulfated pentapeptide encoded by precursor genes that are ubiquitously present in higher plants, suggestive of universal functions. Processing of the preproprotein involves sulfonylation by a tyrosylprotein sulfotransferase in the trans-golgi and proteolytic cleavage in the apoplast. The secreted peptide is perceived at the cell surface by a membrane-bound receptor kinase of the leucine-rich repeat family. The PSK receptor PSKR1 from Arabidopsis thaliana is an active kinase and has guanylate cyclase activity resulting in dual-signal outputs. Receptor activity is regulated by calmodulin. While PSK may be an autocrine growth factor, it also acts non-cell autonomously by promoting growth of cells that are receptor-deficient. In planta, PSK has multiple functions. It promotes cell growth, acts in the quiescent centre cells of the root apical meristem, contributes to funicular pollen tube guidance, and differentially alters immune responses depending on the pathogen. It has been suggested that PSK integrates growth and defence signals to balance the competing metabolic costs of these responses. This review summarizes our current understanding of PSK synthesis, signalling, and activity. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


Margret Sauter. Phytosulfokine peptide signalling. Journal of experimental botany. 2015 Aug;66(17):5161-9

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PMID: 25754406

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