Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Melatonin in plant signalling and behaviour

Lauren A. E. Erland A , Praveen K. Saxena A and Susan J. Murch B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation, Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road E, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada.

B Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1V 1V7, Canada.

C Corresponding author. Email: susan.murch@ubc.ca

This paper originates from a presentation at the Fourth International Symposium on Plant Signaling and Behavior, Komarov Botanical Institute RAS/Russian Science Foundation, Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1923 June 2016.

Functional Plant Biology - https://doi.org/10.1071/FP16384
Submitted: 1 November 2016  Accepted: 29 January 2017   Published online: 22 March 2017

Abstract

Melatonin is an indoleamine neurotransmitter that has recently become well established as an important multi-functional signalling molecule in plants. These signals have been found to induce several important physiological responses that may be interpreted as behaviours. The diverse processes in which melatonin has been implicated in plants have expanded far beyond the traditional roles for which it has been implicated in mammals, which include sleep, tropisms and reproduction. These functions, however, appear to also be important melatonin mediated processes in plants, though the mechanisms underlying these functions have yet to be fully elucidated. Mediation or redirection of plant physiological processes induced by melatonin can be summarised as a series of behaviours including, among others: herbivore defence, avoidance of undesirable circumstances or attraction to opportune conditions, problem solving and response to environmental stimulus. As the mechanisms of melatonin action are elucidated, its involvement in plant growth, development and behaviour is likely to expand beyond the aspects discussed in this review and hold promise for applications in diverse fundamental and applied plant sciences including conservation, cryopreservation, morphogenesis, industrial agriculture and natural health products.

Additional keywords: indoleamine, melatonin, serotonin, signaling cascade, signalling cascade.


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