Tai-ping Sun

Professor of Biology

3104 French Family Science Center, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 613-8166
The diterpenoid phytohormone gibberellin (GA) plays pivotal roles in regulating growth and development throughout the life cycle of higher plants. Mutations affecting GA biosynthesis or GA response were the key to control plant stature in wheat and rice that led to dramatically increased grain yield and contributed greatly to the success of the ‘Green Revolution’ in the 1960s. Although the GA biosynthetic pathway had been characterized biochemically, little was known about the sites of GA production and the mode of GA action. By multi-faceted approaches using the model system Arabidopsis, my lab has made major breakthroughs in revealing the sites and regulatory mechanisms of GA biosynthesis. We also elucidated the conserved molecular events of GA perception and the early GA signaling pathway. We identified the nuclear transcriptional regulators DELLA proteins, which function as master growth repressors by inhibiting all aspects of GA responses. Binding of GA to its nuclear receptor GID1 enhances the GID1-DELLA interaction, which in turn leads to the rapid proteolysis of DELLA through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, and allows transcriptional reprogramming of GA-responsive genes. We and other researchers further showed that GA-GID1-DELLA is a key regulatory module that controls plant growth by integrating internal developmental cues, and external biotic and abiotic signals (light, cold, salt and pathogen stresses). Surprisingly, we recently found that DELLA directly interacts with multiple classes of key regulatory proteins in other signaling pathways. Our work is revealing the complex regulatory network between the GA pathway and other pathways to control plant growth and development.


  • Ph.D., Duke University 1987

  • B.S., National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) 1980

Griffiths, J., K. Murase, I. Rieu, R. Zentella, Z. L. Zhang, S. J. Powers, F. Gong, et al. “Erratum: Genetic characterization and functional analysis of the GID1 gibberellin receptors in Arabidopsis (Plant Cell (2006) 18, (3399-3414)).” Plant Cell 19, no. 2 (February 1, 2007): 726. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.107.190261. Full Text

Silverstone, Aron L., Tong-Seung Tseng, Stephen M. Swain, Alyssa Dill, Sun Yong Jeong, Neil E. Olszewski, and Tai-Ping Sun. “Functional analysis of SPINDLY in gibberellin signaling in Arabidopsis.Plant Physiology 143, no. 2 (February 2007): 987–1000. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.106.091025. Full Text

Griffiths, Jayne, Kohji Murase, Ivo Rieu, Rodolfo Zentella, Zhong-Lin Zhang, Stephen J. Powers, Fan Gong, et al. “Genetic characterization and functional analysis of the GID1 gibberellin receptors in Arabidopsis.The Plant Cell 18, no. 12 (December 28, 2006): 3399–3414. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.106.047415. Full Text

Seo, Mitsunori, Atsushi Hanada, Ayuko Kuwahara, Akira Endo, Masanori Okamoto, Yukika Yamauchi, Helen North, et al. “Regulation of hormone metabolism in Arabidopsis seeds: phytochrome regulation of abscisic acid metabolism and abscisic acid regulation of gibberellin metabolism.The Plant Journal : For Cell and Molecular Biology 48, no. 3 (November 2006): 354–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-313x.2006.02881.x. Full Text

Mitchum, Melissa G., Shinjiro Yamaguchi, Atsushi Hanada, Ayuko Kuwahara, Yasushi Yoshioka, Tomohiko Kato, Satoshi Tabata, Yuji Kamiya, and Tai-Ping Sun. “Distinct and overlapping roles of two gibberellin 3-oxidases in Arabidopsis development.The Plant Journal : For Cell and Molecular Biology 45, no. 5 (March 2006): 804–18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-313x.2005.02642.x. Full Text

Muangprom, Amorntip, Stephen G. Thomas, Tai-Ping Sun, and Thomas C. Osborn. “A novel dwarfing mutation in a green revolution gene from Brassica rapa.Plant Physiology 137, no. 3 (March 2005): 931–38. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.104.057646. Full Text

Fleet, Christine M., and Tai-ping Sun. “A DELLAcate balance: the role of gibberellin in plant morphogenesis.Current Opinion in Plant Biology 8, no. 1 (February 2005): 77–85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbi.2004.11.015. Full Text

Feng, Suhua, Yunping Shen, James A. Sullivan, Vicente Rubio, Yue Xiong, Tai-ping Sun, and Xing Wang Deng. “Arabidopsis CAND1, an unmodified CUL1-interacting protein, is involved in multiple developmental pathways controlled by ubiquitin/proteasome-mediated protein Degradation.The Plant Cell 16, no. 7 (July 2004): 1870–82. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.021949. Full Text

Thomas, Stephen G., and Tai-ping Sun. “Update on gibberellin signaling. A tale of the tall and the short.Plant Physiology 135, no. 2 (June 2004): 668–76. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.104.040279. Full Text

Tyler, Ludmila, Stephen G. Thomas, Jianhong Hu, Alyssa Dill, Jose M. Alonso, Joseph R. Ecker, and Tai-Ping Sun. “Della proteins and gibberellin-regulated seed germination and floral development in Arabidopsis.Plant Physiology 135, no. 2 (June 2004): 1008–19. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.104.039578. Full Text