Interorganellar cooperation maintained via exquisitely controlled retrograde-signaling pathways is an evolutionary necessity for maintenance of cellular homeostasis. This signaling feature has therefore attracted much research attention aimed at improving understanding of the nature of these communication signals, how the signals are sensed, and ultimately the mechanism by which they integrate targeted processes that collectively culminate in organellar cooperativity. The answers to these questions will provide insight into how retrograde-signal-mediated regulatory mechanisms are recruited and which biological processes are targeted, and will advance our understanding of how organisms balance metabolic investments in growth against adaptation to environmental stress. This review summarizes the present understanding of the nature and the functional complexity of retrograde signals as integrators of interorganellar communication and orchestrators of plant development, and offers a perspective on the future of this critical and dynamic area of research.


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