To date, only a small percentage of plant Arm family proteins have been functionally characterised. Those studied so far are functionally diverse, having signalling, transcriptional and structural roles as in animals. They are required for many aspects of plant development, including cell growth, cell division, cell polarity and cell death (Fig. 2).

Almost half of Arabidopsis Arm proteins may exert their function through regulation of proteolysis, a process key to plant development and environmental responses. Although the Arm-E3 ligases exist as protein families, the phenotypes and binding specificities discovered so far suggest that only limited functional redundancy occurs. The emerging picture is that these proteins provide fine-tuning and cell type-specificity to developmental signalling pathways. The challenge for the coming years is to find regulatory proteins and downstream targets to understand the mechanisms by which this intriguing family of proteins performs its roles in plant growth regulation.

Acknowledgements J.C. would like to thank Candida Nibau, Steve Thomas and Barend de Graaf for critical reading of the manuscript.

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