Paul E. Staswick


·Center for Plant Science Innovation

Paul E. Staswick

Emeritus Professor

Area of Expertise: Plant Physiology, Weed, and Production Systems

B.S., Agronomy, Washington State University, 1978

Ph.D., Agronomy, Plant Biochemistry, Purdue University, 1982

Area of Focus

Plant Molecular Biology

Research Interests

My research focuses on fundamental aspects of plant biology related to plant productivity, crop plant quality and disease resistance mechanisms. Studies have included characterization of vegetative storage proteins in soybean, the hormones auxin and jasmonic acid, regulation of gene expression and soybean transformation technology.

Major Project Activities

Current research involves the characterization of plant genes that regulate the activity of hormones. In the model plant arabidopsis we discovered a gene family encoding enzymes that link amino acids to the hormones auxin and jasmonic acid. These hormones are important because they help to control growth and signal resistance to diseases and pests. Surprisingly, the biochemical reaction forming the jasmonic acid-isoleucine conjugate makes jasmonic acid a more effective hormone. Other members of this enzyme family add amino acids to auxins. In contrast with jasmonic acid, this apparently converts auxin to an inactive hormone. Similar genes are found in numerous other plant species, suggesting the enzymes play an important role in plant biology. Ultimately our discoveries about how hormone activity is controlled in plants may be used to further protect plants from insects and disease or to regulate their growth.

Courses Taught

  • Plant Molecular Biology, AGRO 810


  • Staswick P, Rowe M, Spalding E P, Splitt B L (2017) Jasmonoyl-L-Tryptophan Disrupts IAA Activity through the AUX1 Auxin Permease. Front. Plant Sci. 8:736. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00736
  • Porco S, Pěnčík A, Rashed A, Voß U, Casanova-Sáez R, Bishopp A, Golebiowska A, Bhosale R, Swarup R, Swarup K, Peňáková P, Novák O, Staswick P, Hedden P, Phillips AL, Vissenberg K, Bennett MJ, Ljung K. (2016) Dioxygenase-encoding AtDAO1 gene controls IAA oxidation and homeostasis in Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.113:11016-11021
  • Liu N, Staswick PE, Avramova Z. (2016) Memory responses of jasmonic acid-associated Arabidopsis genes to a repeated dehydration stress. Plant Cell Environ. 39:2515-2529
  • Zhang T, Poudel AN, Jewell JB, Kitaoka N, Staswick P, Matsuura H, Koo AJ (2016) Hormone crosstalk in wound stress response: Wound-inducible amidohydrolases can simultaneously regulate jasmonate and auxin homeostasis in Arabidopsis thaliana. J. Exp. Bot. 67:2107-2120
  • Wei HH, Rowe M, Riethoven JJ, Grove R, Adamec J, Jikumaru Y, Staswick P. (2015) Overaccumulation of γ-Glutamylcysteine in a Jasmonate-Hypersensitive Arabidopsis Mutant Causes Jasmonate-Dependent Growth Inhibition. Plant Physiol.169:1371-1381
  • Jahn L, Mucha S, Bergmann S, Horn C, Staswick P, Steffens B, Siemens J, Ludwig-Müller J (2013) The clubroot pathogen (Plasmodiophora brassicae) influences auxin signaling to regulate auxin homeostasis in Arabidopsis. Plants 2:726-749
  • Tiryaki I, Staswick PE (2013) An axr1 suppressor mutation in Arabidopsis that partially restores auxin signaling also reverses defects in jasmonate response. Turkish J. Agric. Forestry 37:394-400
  • Rowe ML, Staswick PE (2013) Jasmonic Acid-Amino Acid Conjugation Enzyme Assays. In “Jasmonate Signaling: Methods and Protocols”.  A Goossens & LPauwels, eds. pp 145-157. Humana Press, NY.
  • Dworak S, Staswick P, Lee D (2013) The Role of JAR1 in Insect Feeding Response. (Web Lesson) J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ. 42:-.  (doi:10.4195/nse.2012.0009w)
  • Gutierrez, L., Mongelard, G., Floková,K., P?curar, D.I., Novák, O., Staswick, P. Kowalczyk, M., P?curar,M., Demailly,H. Geiss, G., Bellini C. (2012) Auxin controls adventitious root initiation by regulating jasmonic acid homeostasis. Plant Cell 24:2515-2527
  • Suza WP, Rowe ML, Hamberg M, Staswick PE (2010) A tomato enzyme synthesizes (+)-7-iso-jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine in wounded leaves. Planta 231:717-728
  • Staswick P (2009) The tryptophan conjugates of jasmonic and indole-3-acetic acids are endogenous auxin inhibitors. Plant Physiol. 150:1310-1321. 
  • Staswick P (2009) Plant hormone conjugation: A signal decision. Plant Signaling Behaviour 4:757-759.
  • Melotto M, Mecey C, Niu Y, Chung HS, Katsir L, Yao J, Zeng W, Thines B, Staswick P, Browse J, Howe G, He SY (2008) The bacterial toxin coronatine and the plant hormone jasmonoyl isoleucine target the physical interaction between the Arabidopsis COI1 F-box protein and the Jas domain of JAZ repressor proteins. Plant J. 55:979-988
  • Ueda A, Li P, Feng Y, Vikram M, Kim S, Kang CH, Kang JS, Bahk JD, Lee SY, Fukuhara T, Staswick PE, Pepper AE, Koiwa H (2008) The Arabidopsis thaliana carboxyl-terminal domain phosphatase-like 2 regulates plant growth, stress and auxin responses. Plant Mol. Biol. 67:683-697
  • Katsir L. Schilmiller AL. Staswick PE. He SY. Howe GA. (2008) COI1 is a critical component of a receptor for jasmonate and the bacterial virulence factor coronatine. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 105:7100-7105
  • Staswick P. (2008) JAZing up jasmonate signaling. Trends Plant Sci. 13:66-71.
  • Suza W., Staswick P. (2008) The role of JAR1 in jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine production in Arabidopsis wound response. Planta 227:1221-1232.
  • Zhang Z, Li O, Li Z, Staswick PE, Wang M, Zhu Y, He Z (2007) Dual regulation role of GH3.5 in salicylic acid and auxin signaling during Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas syringae interaction. Plant Physiol. 145:450-464.
  • Park JE, Park JY, Kim YS, Staswick PE, Jeon J, Yun J, Kim SY, Kim J, Lee YH, Park CM. (2007) GH3-mediated auxin homeostasis links growth regulation with stress adaptation response in Arabidopsis. J Biol Chem. 282:10036-10046.
  • Guranowski A, Miersch O, Staswick PE, Suza W, Wasternack C. (2007) Substrate specificity and products of side-reactions catalyzed by jasmonate:amino acid synthetase (JAR1). FEBS Lett. 581:815-820.
  • Staswick P.E., Serban B., Rowe M., Tiryaki I., Maldonado M.T., Maldonado M.C., Suza W. (2005) Characterization of an Arabidopsis Enzyme Family That Conjugates Amino Acids to Indole-3-Acetic Acid . Plant Cell 17:616-627.
  • Staswick P.E. and Tiryaki I. (2004) The Oxylipin Signal Jasmonic Acid Is Activated by an Enzyme That Conjugates It to Isoleucine in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 16:2117-2127.
  • Leelapon O., Sarath G., Staswick P.E. (2004) A Single Amino Acid Substitution in Soybean VSP Increases its Acid Phosphatase Activity Nearly 20-fold . Planta 219:1071-1079.
  • Tiryaki I, Staswick P.E. (2002) An Arabidopsis thaliana Mutant Defective in Jasmonate Response is Allelic to the Auxin Signaling Mutant axr1 Plant Physiol. 130: 887-894.
  • Staswick P.E., Tiryaki I., Rowe M. (2002) The Jasmonate Response Locus JAR1 and Several Related Arabidopsis Genes Encode Enzymes of the Firefly Luciferase Superfamily that Show Activity on Jasmonic, Salicylic, and Indole-3-Acetic Acids in an Assay for Adenylation. Plant Cell, 14: 1405-1415.