Research Groups

Plant Biology: Plant Stress Biology

Research Interests and Description

Group Leader: Sneh Lata Singla-Pareek, PhD

Group Members

Research Interests

Stress Molecular Biology and Crop biotechnology, functional genomics of plant abiotic stresses, transgenics, gene stacking, stress tolerance, grain yield

Description of Research

Abiotic stresses such as salinity and drought are two major global problems for sustainable agriculture and a solution to this problem by any method, such as conventional breeding, molecular markers or transgenic approach, will create an opportunity for cultivation of crops in soils affected by salinity or drought. In an effort to contribute to the goal of raising rice plants with better suitability with respect to deteriorating edaphic factors, we have employed a few genes possibly operating through diverse mechanisms of their action. Among these genes, those involved in removing the cellular toxicity, as mediated via glyoxalase pathway warrants special mention. This is because the transgenic plants overexpressing glyoxalase pathway enzymes (GlyI and GlyII) have been found to tolerate multiple stresses such as salinity and drought as well as heavy metals. The biochemical basis of this improved tolerance has been investigated in our laboratory where it has been found to be associated with better antioxidant status of these transgenic plants. In a joint venture with a commercial seed company, the glyoxalase pathway has been introgressed into a salt sensitive rice genotype which can now germinate under high levels of salinity. With a similar objective, we have also overexpressed the trehalose biosynthesis pathway (comprising TPS and TPP enzymes) in transgenic rice that has led to enhanced salinity and drought stress tolerance. Very recently, we have got success in generating rice plants with significantly higher yield via modulating cytokinin homeostasis. We have very recently got These efforts have led to the successful development of salinity and drought tolerant rice plants which will not only bring uncultivable land under active cultivation, but also pave the way for use of this technology in other crops for similar use. As an additional step, we have carried out gene pyramiding experiments where three or more genes with different modes of action have been combined to raise “marker-free” transgenic rice plants with a durable stress tolerance and to further enhance stress tolerance limits.

The other major focus of our research is to isolate and characterize novel stress responsive genes and promoters which are being characterized employing contemporary tools and techniques. In this endeavor, we have characterized a family of proteins with unknown functions such as CBS (cystathionine beta synthase) domain containing proteins, MPGs (mannose-1- phosphate guanyl transferase) and chromatin remodeling factors such as NAPL Such novel genes may serve as ‘potential candidates’ for raising transgenic plants having better tolerance towards salinity and drought. 

Recent Publications

Ghosh, A., Kushwaha, H.R., Hasan, M.R., Pareek, A., Sopory, S.K., Singla-Pareek, S.L. 2015. Presence of unique glyoxalase III proteins in plants indicates the existence of shorter route for methylglyoxal detoxification. Sci Reports 6, 18358 PubMed link

Nongpiur, R.C., Singla-Pareek, S.L., Pareek, A. 2015. Genomics Approaches for Improving Salinity Stress Tolerance in Crop Plants.  Current Genomics (In Press)

Joshi, R., Karan, R., Singla-Pareek, S.L., Pareek, A. 2015. Ectopic expression of Pokkali phosphoglycerate kinase-2 (OsPGK2-P) improves yield in tobacco plants under salinity stress. Plant Cell Rep 35, 27-41 PubMed link

Kaur, C., Kushwaha, H.R., Mustafiz, A., Pareek, A., Sopory, S.K., Singla-Pareek, S.L. 2015. Analysis of global gene expression profile of rice in response to methylglyoxal indicates its possible role as a stress signal molecule. Front Plant Sci. 6, 682

Singh, A.K., Kumar, R., Tripathi, A.K., Gupta, B.K., Pareek, A., Singla-Pareek, S.L. 2015. Genome-wide investigation and expression analysis of Sodium/Calcium exchanger gene family in rice and Arabidopsis. Rice (N Y). 8, 54

Singh, A., Kushwaha, H.R., Soni, P., Gupta, H., Singla-Pareek, S.L., Pareek, A. 2015. Tissue specific and abiotic stress regulated transcription of histidine kinases in plants is also influenced by diurnal rhythm. Front Plant Sci. 6, 711

ICGEB New Delhi

ICGEB Campus
Aruna Asaf Ali Marg
110 067 New Delhi
Tel: +91-11-26741358/1007
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