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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.

Select Publications

  • Prigge, M.J., Platre, M., Kadakia, K., Zhang, Y., Greenham, K., Szutu, W., Pandey, B.K., Bhosale, R.A., Bennett, M.J., Busch, W., Estelle, M. 2020. Genetic analysis of the Arabidopsis TIR1/AFB auxin receptors reveals both overlapping and specialized functions. eLife 2020;9:e54740 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.54740
  • Salehin M, Li B, Tang M, Katz E, Song L, Ecker JR, Kliebenstein DJ, Estelle M. 2019 Auxin-sensitive Aux/IAA proteins mediate drought tolerance in Arabidopsis by regulating glucosinolate levels Nat Commun. 10(1):4021. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12002-1.
  • Tao, S., Estelle, M. 2018. Mutational studies of the Aux/IAA proteins in Physcomitrella reveal novel insights into their function. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.15039.
  • Bagchi R., Melnyk CW, Christ G, Winkler M, Kirchsteiner K, Salehin M, Mergner J, Niemeyer M, Schwechheimer C, Calderón Villalobos LIA, Estelle M. 2018. The Arabidopsis ALF4 protein is a regulator of SCF E3 ligases. EMBO J. e201797159. doi: 10.15252. PMID: 29233834
  • Shani, E., Salehin, M., Zhang, Y., Sanchez, S.E., Doherty, C., Wang, R., Castillejo-Mangado, C., Song, L., Tal, I., Pisanty, O., Ecker, J.R., Kay, S.E., Pruneda-Paz, J., and Estelle, M. 2016. Plant stress tolerance requires auxin-sensitive Aux/IAA transcriptional repressors. Jan 18. pii: S0960-9822(16)31463-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.016.
  • Lavy, M., Prigge, M.J., Tao, S., Shain, S. Kuo, A., and Estelle M. 2016. Constitutive auxin response reveals complex interactions between Aux/IAA and ARF proteins in Physcomitrella. eLIFE, Jun 1;5. pii: e13325. doi: 10.7554/eLife.13325.
  • Prigge,M.J., Greenham, K., Zhang, Y., Santner, A., Castillejo, C., Mutka, A.M., O’Malley, R.C., Ecker, J.R., Kunkel, B.N., Estelle, M. 2016. The Arabidopsis Auxin Receptor F-box proteins AFB4 and AFB5 are Required for Response to the Synthetic Auxin, Picloram. G3 In Press. PMID: 26976444
  • Tal, I., Zhang, Y., Jørgensen, M.E., Pisanty, O., Barbosa, I.C.R., Zourelidou, M., Regnault, T., Crocoll, C., Olsen, C.E., Weinstain, R., Schwechheimer, C., Halkier, B.A., Nour-Eldin, H.H., Estelle, M2. and Shani, E2. 2016 The Arabidopsis NPF3 protein is a GA transporter. Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11486.
  • Wang, R., Zhang, Y., Kieffer, M., Yu, H., Kepinski, S., and Estelle, M. 2016 HSP90 regulates temperature-dependent seedling growth in Arabidopsis by stabilizing the auxin co-receptor F-box protein TIR1. Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10269.
  • Gao, Y1., Zhang, Y., Zhang, D., Dai, X., Estelle, M2., and Zhao, Y2. 2015. Auxin Binding Protein 1 (ABP1) is not required for either auxin signaling or Arabidopsis development. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 112(7):2275-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1500365112.
  • Yu, H., Zhang, Y., Moss, B.L., Bargmann, B.O.R., Wang, R., Prigge, M., Nemhauser, J.L., Estelle, M. 2015. Untethering the TIR1 auxin receptor from the SCF complex increases its stability and inhibits auxin response. Nature Plants. doi:10.1038/nplants.2014.30
  • Yu, H., Moss, B., Jang, Michael Prigge, S.S., Klavins, E., Nemhauser, J., and Mark Estelle. 2013. Mutations in the TIR1 auxin receptor that increase affinity for Aux/IAA proteins result in auxin hypersensitivity, Plant Phys. 162(1):295-303
  • Yu H, Karampelias M, Robert S, Peer WA, Swarup R, Ye S, Ge L, Cohen J, Murphy A, Friml J, and Mark Estelle. 2013. ROOT ULTRAVIOLET B-SENSITIVE1/weak auxin response3 is essential for polar auxin transport in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol.162:965-76
  • Shani, E., Weinstain, R., Zhang, Y., Castillejo Mangado, C., Kaiserli, E., Chory, J., Tsien, R.Y., and M. Estelle. 2013. Gibberellins accumulate in the elongating endodermal cells of Arabidopsis roots. Proc., Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110:4834-9
  • Chapman, E.C., Greenham, K., Castillejo, C., Sartor, R., Bialy, A., Sun, T-p & Mark Estelle, 2012. Hypocotyl Transcriptome Reveals Auxin Regulation of Growth-Promoting Genes Through GA-Dependent and -Independent Pathways, PLoS ONE, 7(5):e36210.
  • CalderónVillalobos, L.I.A., Lee, S., Brandt, W., Armitage, L., Sheard, L. B., Tan, X., Parry, G., Mao, H., Zheng, N., Napier, R., Kepinski, S., and M. Estelle. 2012. TIR1/AFBs and Aux/IAAs constitute a combinatorial co-receptor system to perceive auxin with differential sensitivities. Nat. Chem. Biol. 8:477-485


Mark Estelle received his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Alberta, Canada and conducted postdoctoral work at Michigan State University. He joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2008. Prof. Estelle is an Associate Editor at PNAS and an Academic Editor at PLoS Biology. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.

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