Cytokinins (CKs) are adenine-derived, small-molecule plant growth regulators that control aspects of almost all plant growth and development processes. Internally, CKs play significant roles in plant cell division, nutrient allocation, and photosynthetic performance, and they are also detection and signaling agents for plant responses to the environmental challenges. CK functions in plant metabolism include plant adaptations to various abiotic stresses as well as their regulatory role in plant interactions with biotic components of the environment. Interestingly, CK biosynthesis is not exclusive to plants. New genetic and chemical approaches have revealed that both beneficial (symbiotic microorganisms) and detrimental (pathogenic bacteria, fungi, or insects) non-plant biota can secrete these phytohormones to purposefully modify plant metabolism. Therefore, while many open questions remain about how CKs are actively utilized by plants and plant-interacting organisms, CK roles should be seen more broadly, as signaling molecules for which effects range from within cells to as far as interkingdom relationships. The papers in this Special Issue highlight several aspects of CK biosynthesis, metabolism, and functions within plants and among plant-associated organisms, typifying the extensive range of roles played by these signaling molecules. The collection of papers represents new examples for CK researchers to consider advancing the growing range of topics related to how CKs mediate responses to many kinds of environmental stimuli and stresses.
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