Auxin response factor (ARF) family genes play a central role in controlling sensitivity to the plant hormone auxin. We characterized the function of ARF8 in Arabidopsis by investigating a T-DNA insertion line (arf8-1) and overexpression lines (ARF8 OX) of ARF8. arf8-1 showed a long-hypocotyl phenotype in either white, blue, red or far-red light conditions, in contrast to ARF8 OX that displayed short hypocotyls in the light. Stronger and weaker apical dominance, and promotion and inhibition of lateral root formation were observed in arf8-1 and ARF8 OX respectively. Sensitivity to auxin was unaltered in arf8-1 hypocotyls with respect to growth inhibition caused by exogenously applied auxin and growth promotion induced by higher temperatures. ARF8 expression was observed constitutively in shoot and root apexes, and was induced in the light condition in hypocotyls. Free IAA contents were approximately 30% reduced in light-grown hypocotyls of ARF8 OX, but were similar between those of arf8-1 and wild type. Expression of the three GH3 genes was reduced in arf8-1 and increased in ARF8 OX, indicating that they are targets of ARF8 transcriptional control. Because the three GH3 proteins may be involved in the conjugation of IAA as suggested by Staswick et al. (2002), and because two of the three GH3 genes are auxin inducible, ARF8 may control the free IAA level in a negative feedback fashion by regulating GH3 gene expression. ARF family genes seem to control both auxin sensitivity and homeostasis in Arabidopsis.