A new balancing act: The many roles of melatonin and serotonin in plant growth and development

Lauren A.E. Erland, Susan J. Murch, Russel J. Reiter, Praveen K. Saxena

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Melatonin and serotonin are indoleamines first identified as neurotransmitters in vertebrates; they have now been found to be ubiquitously present across all forms of life. Both melatonin and serotonin were discovered in plants several years after their discovery in mammals, but their presence has now been confirmed in almost all plant families. The mechanisms of action of melatonin and serotonin are still poorly defined. Melatonin and serotonin possess important roles in plant growth and development, including functions in chronoregulation and modulation of reproductive development, control of root and shoot organogenesis, maintenance of plant tissues, delay of senescence, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. This review focuses on the roles of melatonin and serotonin as a novel class of plant growth regulators. Their roles in reproductive and vegetative plant growth will be examined including an overview of current hypotheses and knowledge regarding their mechanisms of action in specific responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1096469
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2015


  • Development
  • Indoleamine
  • Mechanism of action
  • Melatonin
  • Organogenesis
  • Phytohormone
  • Plant growth regulator
  • Reproductive growth
  • Serotonin
  • Vegetative growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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