Michael Axtell

Distinguished Professor of Biology

Michael Axtell

Research Summary

Discovery and characterization of plant microRNAs and siRNAs. Functions of microRNAs and siRNAs in the evolution of plant development. Genomics and bioinformatics of microRNAs, siRNAs, and their targets

Huck Graduate Students

Huck Affiliations


Publication Tags

Rna Micrornas Small Interfering Rna Genes Messenger Rna Microrna Genome Transgenes Methylation Plant Rna Tobacco Nicotiana Benthamiana Virulence Proteins Nucleotides Quality Control Epigenomics Parasitic Plants Arabidopsis Lycopersicon Esculentum Magnoliopsida Assays Phenotype Parasites Rna Precursors

Most Recent Papers

Quality control and evaluation of plant epigenomics data

Robert J. Schmitz, Alexandre P. Marand, Xuan Zhang, Rebecca A. Mosher, Franziska Turck, Xuemei Chen, Michael J. Axtell, Xuehua Zhong, Siobhan M. Brady, Molly Megraw, Blake C. Meyers, 2022, Plant Cell on p. 503-513

Quality control and evaluation of plant epigenomics data.

R Schmitz, A Marand, X Zhang, R Mosher, F Turck, X Chen, Michael Axtell, X Zhong, S Brady, M Megraw, B Meyers, 2021, The Plant cell

Expression and processing of polycistronic artificial microRNAs and trans-acting siRNAs from transiently introduced transgenes in Solanum lycopersicum and Nicotiana benthamiana

Alice Lunardon, Samwel Muiruri Kariuki, Michael J. Axtell, 2021, Plant Journal on p. 1087-1104

Mechanisms of resistance and virulence in parasitic plant-host interactions

Markus Albert, Michael J. Axtell, Michael P. Timko, 2021, Plant Physiology on p. 1282-1291

Segregation of an MSH1 RNAi transgene produces heritable non-genetic memory in association with methylome reprogramming

Xiaodong Yang, Robersy Sanchez, Hardik Kundariya, Tom Maher, Isaac Dopp, Rosemary Schwegel, Kamaldeep Virdi, Michael J. Axtell, Sally A. Mackenzie, 2020, Nature Communications

Mechanisms of Resistance and Virulence in Parasitic Plant–Host Interactions

Markus Albert, Michael Axtell, Michael Timko, 2020, Plant Physiology

MSH1-induced heritable enhanced growth vigor through grafting is associated with the RdDM pathway in plants

Hardik Kundariya, Xiaodong Yang, Kyla Morton, Robersy Sanchez, Michael J. Axtell, Samuel F. Hutton, Michael Fromm, Sally A. Mackenzie, 2020, Nature Communications

Exchange of small regulatory rnas between plants and their pests

Collin Hudzik, Yingnan Hou, Wenbo Ma, Michael J. Axtell, 2020, Plant Physiology on p. 51-62

Integrated annotations and analyses of small RNA-producing loci from 47 diverse plants

Alice Lunardon, Nathan R. Johnson, Emily Hagerott, Tamia Phifer, Seth Polydore, Ceyda Coruh, Michael J. Axtell, 2020, Genome Research on p. 497-513

Compensatory sequence variation between trans-species small rnas and their target sites

Nathan R. Johnson, Claude W. de Pamphilis, Michael J. Axtell, 2019, eLife

Most-Cited Papers

Classification and comparison of small RNAs from plants

Michael J. Axtell, 2013, Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology on p. 137-159

The Amborella genome and the evolution of flowering plants

Claude W. DePamphilis, Jeffrey D. Palmer, Steve Rounsley, David Sankoff, Stephan C. Schuster, Jetty S.S. Ammiraju, W. Bradley Barbazuk, Srikar Chamala, Andre S. Chanderbali, Ronald Determann, Ma Hong, Paula Ralph, Jason Talag, Lynn Tomsho, Brandon Walts, Stefan Wanke, Rod A. Wing, Tien Hao Chang, Tianying Lan, Douglas E. Soltis, Siwaret Arikit, Michael J. Axtell, Saravanaraj Ayyampalayam, James M. Burnette, Emanuele De Paoli, Nina P. Farrell, Alex Harkess, Yuannian Jiao, James Leebens-Mack, Kun Liu, Wenbin Mei, Blake C. Meyers, Saima Shahid, Eric Wafula, Susan R. Wessler, Jixian Zhai, Xiaoyu Zhang, Victor A. Albert, Lorenzo Carretero-Paulet, Eric Lyons, Haibao Tang, Chunfang Zheng, Naomi S. Altman, Feng Chen, Jian Qun Chen, Vincent Chiang, Joshua P. Der, Bruno Fogliani, Chunce Guo, Jesper Harholt, Claudette Job, Dominique Job, Sangtae Kim, Hongzhi Kong, Guanglin Li, N. Li, Jie Liu, Jongsun Park, Xinshuai Qi, Loïc Rajjou, Valérie Burtet-Sarramegna, Ron Sederoff, Ying Hsuan Sun, Peter Ulvskov, Matthieu Villegente, Jia Yu Xue, Ting Feng Yeh, Xianxian Yu, Juan J. Acosta, Riva A. Bruenn, Alexandre De Kochko, Luis R. Herrera-Estrella, Enrique Ibarra-Laclette, Matias Kirst, Solon P. Pissis, Valérie Poncet, Pamela S. Soltis, 2013, Science


Michael J. Axtell, 2013, RNA on p. 740-751

Revisiting Criteria for Plant MicroRNA Annotation in the Era of Big Data

Michael Axtell, Blake Meyers, 2018, Plant Cell on p. 272-284

MicroRNAs from the parasitic plant Cuscuta campestris target host messenger RNAs

Saima Shahid, Gunjune Kim, Nathan R. Johnson, Eric Wafula, Feng Wang, Ceyda Coruh, Vivian Bernal-Galeano, Tamia Phifer, Claude W. Depamphilis, James H. Westwood, Michael J. Axtell, 2018, Nature on p. 82-85

Improved placement of multi-mapping small RNAs

Nathan R. Johnson, Jonathan M. Yeoh, Ceyda Coruh, Michael J. Axtell, 2016, G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics on p. 2103-2111

Analysis of complementarity requirements for plant MicroRNA targeting using a Nicotiana benthamiana quantitative transient assay

Qikun Liu, Feng Wang, Michael J. Axtell, 2014, Plant Cell on p. 741-753

miR156 and miR390 regulate tasiRNA accumulation and developmental timing in physcomitrella patens

Sung Hyun Cho, Ceyda Coruh, Michael J. Axtell, 2013, Plant Cell on p. 4837-4849

Bidirectional processing of pri-miRNAs with branched terminal loops by Arabidopsis Dicer-like1

Hongliang Zhu, Yuyi Zhou, Claudia Castillo-González, Amber Lu, Chunxiao Ge, Ying Tao Zhao, Liusheng Duan, Zhaohu Li, Michael J. Axtell, Xiu Jie Wang, Xiuren Zhang, 2013, Nature Structural Biology on p. 1106-1115

A non-canonical plant microRNA target site

Cécile Brousse, Qikun Liu, Linda Beauclair, Aurélie Deremetz, Michael J. Axtell, Nicolas Bouché, 2014, Nucleic Acids Research on p. 5270-5279

News Articles Featuring Michael Axtell

Penn State biologist Michael Axtell named distinguished professor

Michael Axtell, professor of biology at Penn State, has been selected to receive the title of distinguished professor of biology in recognition of his exceptional record of teaching, research, and service to the University community.

Agricultural parasite avoids evolutionary arms race, shuts down genes of host

A parasitic plant has found a way to circumvent an evolutionary arms race with the host plants from which it steals nutrients, allowing the parasite to thrive on a variety of agriculturally important plants. The parasite dodder, an agricultural pest found on every continent, sends genetic material into its host to shut down host defense genes.

Natural GMOs: Parasitic plants steal host DNA to siphon off needed resources

Some parasitic plants steal genetic material from their host plants and use the stolen genes to more effectively siphon off the host’s nutrients. A new study led by researchers at Penn State and Virginia Tech reveals that the parasitic plant dodder has stolen a large amount of genetic material from its hosts, including over 100 functional genes.

Parasitic plants use stolen genes to make them better parasites

Some parasitic plants steal genetic material from their host plants and use the stolen genes to more effectively siphon off the host’s nutrients. A new study led by researchers at Penn State and Virginia Tech reveals that the parasitic plant dodder has stolen a large amount of genetic material from its hosts, including over 100 functional genes.

Michael Axtell Among Five Receiving Faculty Scholar Medals

Five Penn State faculty members have received 2019 Faculty Scholar Medals for Outstanding Achievement for excellence in scholarship, research and the arts.