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Dr. Sarah Liljegren

Associate Professor
Department of Biology
The University of Mississippi


Office: 118 Shoemaker Hall
Research Lab: 123 Shoemaker Hall
Phone: (662) 915-1409


Research Interests:

Plants rely on abscission zones to release their leaves, floral organs, fruit and seeds at specific points in their life cycles or in response to environmental cues. Over the past decade, research using the model plant Arabidopsis has revealed multiple components that regulate the programmed loss of cell adhesion in organ abscission zones. However, little is currently known about the mechanisms that determine where abscission zones are located or what genes are necessary for their development. In Arabidopsis flowers, abscission zones form at boundary regions between the outer floral organs and underlying stem. Complex genetic networks establish these lateral organ boundaries as well as the inter-organ boundaries between individual floral organs. The focus of the Liljegren lab is to investigate whether a subset of the molecular circuits that regulate organ boundaries also specify the location and identity of abscission zone cells. Advances made in understanding the basis of abscission zone development may lead to novel technologies to modify organ abscission in crop plants. This direction of research is supported by a five year National Science Foundation CAREER award to Dr. Liljegren.
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Joining the Lab:

Please contact Dr. Liljegren via e-mail if you are interested in joining the lab as a graduate student at the University of Mississippi. Students who would like to carry out honors research with Dr. Liljegren are also encouraged to email or stop by her office.



BISC 336: Genetics
BISC 436: Human Genetics
BISC 579: Plant Cell and Developmental Biology
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Postdoctoral Fellow, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and UCSD
Ph.D., 1999, University of California at San Diego
B.S., 1993, University of Washington
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Selected Publications:

Groner WD, Christy ME, Kreiner CM, and Liljegren SJ (2016) Allele-specific interactions between CAST AWAY and NEVERSHED control abscission in Arabidopsis flowers. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 1588. pdf

Gubert CM, Christy ME, Ward DL, Groner WD, and Liljegren SJ (2014) ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 regulates abscission zone placement in Arabidopsis flowers. BMC Plant Biology 14: 195. pdf

Gubert CM and Liljegren SJ (2014) HAESA and HAESA-LIKE2 activate organ abscission downstream of NEVERSHED and EVERSHED in Arabidopsis flowers. Plant Signaling & Behavior 9: e29115. pdf

Liu B, Butenko MA, Shi CL, Bolivar JL, Winge P, Stenvik GE, Vie AK, Leslie ME, Brembu T, Kristiansen W, Bones AM, Patterson SE, Liljegren SJ, and Aalen RB (2013) NEVERSHED and INFLORESCENCE DEFICIENT IN ABSCISSION are differentially required for cell expansion and cell separation during floral organ abscission in Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Experimental Botany 64: 5345-5357. pdf

Sauer MB, Delgadillo MO, Zouhar J, Reynolds GD, Pennington JG, Jiang L, Liljegren SJ, Stierhof YD, De Jaeger G, Otegui MS, Bednarek SY, and Rojo E (2013) MTV1 and MTV4 encode plant-specific ENTH and ARF GAP proteins that mediate clathrin-dependent trafficking of vacuolar cargo from the trans-Golgi network. Plant Cell 25: 2217-2235. pdf

Liljegren SJ (2012) Organ abscission: exit strategies require signals and moving traffic. Current Opinion in Plant Biology  15: 670-676. Abstract

Bryan A, Racolta A, Tax F, and Liljegren S (2012) The social network: receptor kinases and cell fate determination. In Kemmerling B and Tax F (editors) Receptor-Like Kinases in Plants: From Signaling to Development. Springer Publishing, New York, NY. Abstract

Burr CA, Leslie ME, Orlowski SK, Chen I, Wright CE, Daniels MJ, and Liljegren SJ (2011) CAST AWAY, a membrane-associated receptor-like kinase, inhibits organ abscission in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 156: 1837-1850. pdf

Lewis MW, Leslie ME, Fulcher EH, Darnielle L, Healy PN, Youn J-Y, and Liljegren SJ (2010) The SERK1 receptor-like kinase regulates organ separation in Arabidopsis flowers. Plant Journal 62: 817-828.

Leslie ME, Lewis MW, Youn J-Y, Daniels MJ, and Liljegren SJ (2010) The EVERSHED receptor-like kinase modulates floral organ shedding in Arabidopsis. Development 137: 467-476. pdf

Liljegren SJ, Leslie ME, Darnielle L, Lewis MW, Taylor SM, Luo R, Geldner N, Chory J, Randazzo PA, Yanofsky MF, and Ecker JR (2009) Regulation of membrane trafficking and organ separation by the NEVERSHED ARF GAP protein. Development 136: 1909-18. pdf

Leslie ME, Lewis MW, and Liljegren SJ (2007) Organ Abscission. In Roberts J and Gonzalez-Carranza Z (editors) Plant Cell Separation and Adhesion. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, United Kingdom. pp. 106-136.

Lewis MW, Leslie ME, and Liljegren SJ (2006) Plant separation: 50 ways to leave your mother. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 9: 59-65. Abstract

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