Communication between source organs (exporters of photoassimilates) and sink organs (importers of fixed carbon) has a pivotal role in carbohydrate assimilation and partitioning during plant growth and development. Plant productivity is enhanced by sink strength and source activity, which are regulated by a complex signaling network encompassing sugars, hormones, and environmental factors. However, key components underlying the signaling path- ways that regulate source–sink communication are only now beginning to be discovered. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating sugar mobilization during seed development and seedling establishment in cereals, which provide the majority of nutrition for humans. Insights into these mechanisms may provide strategies for improving crop productivity.