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Mark Estelle


The plant hormone auxin has been implicated in virtually every stage of plant growth and development from embryogenesis to senescence. My laboratory is using the genetically tractable plant Arabidopsis thaliana to identify and characterize auxin response pathways. Our work has shown that auxin promotes the rapid degradation of a family of transcriptional repressors called the Aux/IAA proteins via the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. Auxin interacts directly with a ubiquitin protein ligase called SCFTIR1, and promotes an interaction between the E3 and the Aux/IAAs. We are now studying the mechanism SCFTIR1 action and the role of the complex in various aspects of plant growth. In addition, we are turning our attention to the complex transcriptional networks that mediate auxin growth responses. Our ultimate goal is to understand the systems that mediate auxin-dependent development at the level of the cell and organism.


  • Mockaitis, K and M. Estelle. 2008. Auxin Receptors and Plant Development: A new signaling paradigm. Annu Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 24:55-80.
  • Tan, X., Calderon-Villalobos, L.I.A, Sharon, M., Zheng, C., Robinson, C.V., Estelle, M, and N. Zheng. 2007. Mechanism of auxin perception by the TIR1 ubiquitin ligase. Nature, 446:640-645.
  • Dharmasiri, N., Dharmasiri, S., Weijers, D., Karunarathna, N, Jurgens, G., and M. Estelle. 2007. AXL and AXR1 have redundant functions in RUB conjugation and growth and development in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal 52:114-123.
  • Dharmasiri, S., Swarup, R., Mockaitis, K., Dharmasiri, N., Singh, S.K., Kowalchyk, M., Marchant, A., Mills, S., Sandberg, G., Bennett, M., and M. Estelle. 2006. AXR4 is required for localization of the auxin influx facilitator AUX1. Science 312:1218-1220.
  • Dharmasiri, N., Dharmasiri, S., and M. Estelle. 2005. The F-box protein TIR1 is an auxin receptor. Nature 435:441-445.
  • Dharmasiri, N., Dharmasiri, S., Weijers, D,. Lechner, E., Yamada, M., Hobbie, L., Ehrismann, J.S., Jürgens, G. and M. Estelle. 2005. Plant development is regulated by a family of auxin receptor F-box proteins. Dev. Cell 9:109-119.