Peter McCourt

Full Professor
NSERC IRC, CRC in Plant Molecular Biology
Ph.D., Michigan State, 1986
Cell & Systems Biology
Research Areas: 
Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, Cell & Developmental Biology, Functional Genomics & Genetics, Plant Biology
Graduate Programs: 
Cell & Systems Biology, Developmental Biology
Office phone: 
Lab phone: 
ESC 4059
ESC 4055

peter [dot] mccourt (at)utoronto [dot] ca


Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
25 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 3B2


In plants, hormones influence many diverse developmental processes ranging from seed germination to root, shoot and flower formation. I have chosen to study the plant hormones abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellin (GA) in Arabidopsis thaliana as a model genetic system to understanding hormone signaling in plants. The program involves the identification of mutants with altered hormonal responses and the cloning of the subsequent genes that have been identified through these genetic screens.

Lumba, S., Toh, S., Handfield, L., Swan, M., Liu, R., Youn, J., Cutler, S.R., Subramaniam, R., Provart, N.J., Moses, A., Desveaux, D., McCourt, P. (2014).  A Mesoscale Abscisic Acid Hormone Interactome Reveals a Dynamic Signaling Landscape in Arabidopsis. Developmental Cell. 29(3), 360-372. Abstract
Lumba, S., Tsuchiya, Y., Delmas, F., Hezky, J., Provart, N.J., Lu, Q.S., McCourt, P., Gazzarrini, S. (2012).  The embryonic leaf identity gene FUSCA3 regulates vegetative phase transitions by negatively modulating ethylene-regulated gene expression in Arabidopsis. BMC Biology. 10, 8. Abstract
Austin, R.S., Vidaurre, D., Stamatiou, G., Breit, R., Provart, N.J., Bonetta, D., Zhang, J., Fung, P., Gong, Y., Wang, P.W., McCourt, P., Guttman, D.S. (2011).  Next-Generation Mapping of Arabidopsis Genes. The Plant Journal. 67, 715–725. Abstract
Park, S.-Y., Fung, P., Nishimura, N., Jensen, D., Fujii, H., Zhao, Y., Lumba, S., Santiago, J., Rodrigues, A., Chow, T., Alfred, S., Bonetta, D., Finkelstein, R., Provart, N., Desveaux, D., Rodriguez, P., McCourt, P., Zhu, J.-K., Schroeder, J.I., Volkman, B., Cutler, S. (2009).  Abscisic Acid Inhibits Type 2C Protein Phosphatases via the PYR/PYL Family of START Proteins. Science. 324, 1068-1071. Abstract
Provart, N., McCourt, P. (2004).  Systems approaches to understanding cell signaling and gene regulation. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 7(5), 605-9. Abstract
Gazzarrini, S., Tsuchiya, Y., Lumba, S., Okamoto, M., McCourt, P. (2004).  The Transcription Factor FUSCA3 Controls Developmental Timing in Arabidopsis through the Hormones Gibberellin and Abscisic Acid. Developmental Cell. 7, 373-385. Abstract
Bonetta, D., Bayliss, P., Sun, S., Sage, T.L., McCourt, P. (2000).  Farnesylation is involved in meristem organization in Arabidopsis.. Planta. 211, 182-190.
Steber, C., Cooney, S.E., McCourt, P. (1998).  Isolation of GA-response mutants of Arabidopsis as suppressors of ABI1 and ABA insensitive mutation.. Genetics. 149, 509-521.
Pei, Z-M., Ghassemian, M., Kwak, C.M., McCourt, P., Schroder, J. I (1998).  Role of Farnesyltransferase in ABA regulation of guard cell anion channels and plant water loss.. Science. 282, 287-290.
Bonetta, D., McCourt, P. (1998).  Genetic analysis of ABA signal transduction.. Trends in Plant Science. 6, 231-235.
Cutler, S., Ghassimian, M., Bonetta, D., Cooney, S., McCourt, P. (1996).  A protein farnesyl transferase involved in ABA transduction in Arabidopsis.. Science. 273, 1239-1241.