S. Leelavathi

Group Leader, Plant Transformation
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Aruna Asaf Ali Marg
110 067 New Delhi, India
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +91-11-26741358 ext. 361


VSM College, Ramachandrapuram, India, BSc, 1976
ASD College, Kakinada, India, BSc, 1978
CCS University, Meerut, India, MSc in Botany, 1980       
CCS University, Meerut, India, MPhil in Botany, 1881
Bose Institute, University of Calcutta, India, PhD, 1988

Career History

Since 1999, Staff Research Scientist, Plant Transformation, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, India
1997-1999, Visiting Scientist, ICGEB New Delhi
1991-1996, Micropropagation of Ornamental Plants Startup Company
1988 -1991, Postdoctoral Fellow (CSIR) ICGEB, New Delhi
1986 -1988, Senior Research Fellow (CSIR) Bose Institute, Calcutta
1982 – 1986, Junior Research Fellow and SRF, Bose Institute, Calcutta

Scientific Activity

Present interest is to understand the role of non-AUG start codons in regulating   f chloroplast gene expression (manuscript under preparation). Another on-going activity is the effect of plant development when starch accumulation is controlled through over expression of amylase directly in chloroplasts, as the plant development is linked with starch accumulation during photosynthesis. Amylase expressing plants are unable to grow normally with white leaves except in culture bottles having MS medium. Studies with Electron microscopy showed the lack of proper thylakoid formation and chloroplasts are devoid of starch bodies  (manuscript under preparation). Further, systematic studies are going on to standardize and define cocktails of enzymes and their amounts to depolymerise various complex biomasses such as corn, wheat and rice straws to release maximum amount of sugars.

In case of basic understanding of submergence tolerance in Northeast rice cultivars, transcriptome of submerged and control plants are being analyzed and compared to identify differentially expressed genes. I am also interested in understanding the role of non-sub 1 pathway, if any, in the submergence tolerance in these rice cultivars. For this purpose we plan to down-regulate SNORKEL1/2 gene expression through  transgenic approach in the plants that are  over expressing sub1A1 gene with the expectation that such double transgenic plants will be submergence tolerant under deep-water without much elongation of internodes. In the cotton improvement program, progeny (T1 plants) of transgenic plants expressing different Bt. Genes are being evaluated for the insect resistance. Preliminary results showed that transgenic cotton expressing VIP and Cry1Ac plants providing very good resistance against Spodoptera and Helicoverpa, respectively.  

Selected publications

Nguyen, V, C., Nguyen, V, K., Singh, C, H., Devi, G, S., Reddy, V, S., Leelavathi, S. 2017. Fast recovery of transgenic submergence tolerant rice cultivars of North-East India by early co-cultivation of Agrobacterium with pre-cultured callus. Plant Molecular Biology  and Biotechnology, 23:115-123

Matteo Faè, Sonia Accossato, Rino Cella, Fabrizia Fontana, Michel Goldschmidt-Clermont, Leelavathi Sadhu, Siva Reddy Vanga,Paolo Longoni. 2017; Comparison of transplastomic Chlamydomona sreinhardtii andNicotian atabacum expression system for the production of a bacterialendoglucanase Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 101 (10) 4085-4092

Cristina Pagliano, Dr; Luca Bersanini; Rino Cella, Prof; Paolo Longoni; Laura Pantaleoni; Abhishek Dass; Sadhu Leelavathi; Vanga Siva Reddy.2017. Use of Nicotiana tabacum transplastomic plants engineered to express a His-tagged CP47 for the isolation of functional Photosystem II core complexes” Plant Physiol and Biochem111:266-273. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2016.12.009

Dass, A., Abdin, M, Z.,  Reddy, V. S., Leelavathi, S (2016) Isolation and characterization of the dehydration stress-inducible GhRDL1 promoter from the cultivated upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). J Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology (in press, DOI :10.1007/s13562-016-0369-3)

Kumar, S., Kanakachari, M., Gurusamy, D., Kumar, K., Narayanasamy, P., Padmalatha, K. V.,  Solanke, A., Gamanagatti, S., Hiremath, V., Katageri, I. S., Leelavathi, S., Kumar, P. A., and Reddy, V. S (2016) Genome-wide transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of bollworm infested developing cotton bolls revealed the genes and pathways involved in the insect pest defense mechanism. Plant Biotechnol. J 14, 1438–1455

Kumar, S., Pandey, P., Kumar, K., Rajamani, V., Padmalatha, K. V.,  Dhandapani, G., Kanakachari, M.,, Leelavathi, S., Kumar, P. A., Reddy, V. S  (2015) Delineating the glycoproteome of elongating cotton fiber cells. Data in Brief 5, 717–725

Longoni, P., Leelavathi, S., Enrico, D., Reddy, VS., Cella, R. (2015). Production by tobacco transplastomic plants of recombinant fungal and bacterial cell-wall degrading enzymes to be used for cellulosic biomass saccharification. Biomed Res Int. PMC44681278

Ritala, A., Leelavathi, S., Oksman-Caldentey, K-M., Reddy, VS., Laukkanen, M-L. 2014. Recombinant barley-produced antibody for detection and immunoprecipitation of the major bovine milk allergen, beta-lactoglobulin. Transgenic Res 23,477-87.

Kumar, S., Kumar, K., Pandey, P., Rajamani, V., Padmalatha, KV., Dhandapani, G., Kanakachari, M., Leelavathi, S., Kumar, PA., Reddy, VS.  2013 Glycoproteome of elongating cotton fiber cells. Mol Cell Proteomics. 12, 3677-89.

Pantaleoni, L., Longoni, P., Ferroni, L., Baldisserotto, C., Leelavathi S., Reddy, VS., Pancaldi, S., Cella, R. 2013. Chloroplast molecular farming: efficient production of a thermostable xylanase by Nicotiana tabacum plants and long term conservation of the recombinant enzyme. Protoplasma 251, 639-648.

Padmalatha, KV., Patil, DP., Kumar, K., Dhandapani,D., Kanakachari, M., Phanindra, MLV., Kumar, S., Mohan, TC., Parkas, AH., Hiremath, HV., Ishwarappa SK., Leelavathi, S., Kumar, PA.,  Reddy, VS. 2012. Functional genomics of fuzzless-lintless mutant of Gossypium hirsutum cv. MCU5 reveal key genes and pathways involved in cotton fibre initiation and elongation. BMC Genomics 13:624 doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-13-624.

Biswal, AK., Pattanayak, GK., Pandey, SS., Leelavathi, S., Reddy, VS., Govindjee,  Tripathy, BC. 2012. Light Intensity-Dependent Modulation of Chlorophyll b Biosynthesis and Photosynthesis by Overexpression of Chlorophyllide a Oxygenase in Tobacco. Plant Physiol 159, 433-49.

Bhardwaj, A., Mahanta, P., Ramakumar, S., Ghosh, A,. Leelavathi, S., Reddy, VS. 2012. Emerging role of N- and C-terminal interactions in stabilizing (β/α)8 fold with special emphasis on Family 10 xylanases. Computational and Structural Biotechnology J. 2 (3), e201209014. doi:https://dx.doi.org/10.5936/csbj.201209014 (Invited review)

Leelavathi, S., Bhardwaj, A., Saravanan, K., Dass, A., Pathak, R., Pandey, SS., Tripathy, BC., Padmalata, K.V., Dhandapan, G., Kanakachari, M., Ananda Kumar, P., Cella, R., Reddy, VS. 2011. Genome wide transcriptome and proteome analyses of tobacco psaA deletion mutant. Plant Mol. Biol.76, 407-423.

Padmalatha, KV., Dhandapani,G., Kanakachari, M., Kumar, S., Dass, A., Patil, DP., Rajamani, V., Kumar, K., Pathak, R., Rawat, B., Leelavathi, S., Reddy, PS., Jain, N., Powar, KN., Hiremath, V., Katageri, IS., Reddy, MK., Solanke, AU., Reddy, VS., Kumar, PA.  2011. Genome-wide transcriptomic analysis of cotton under drought stress reveal significant down-regulation of genes and pathways involved in fibre elongation and up-regulation of defense responsive genes. Plant Mol Biol 78, 223-246.

Obembe, OO., Popoola, JO., Leelavathi, S., Reddy, VS. 2011. Advances in plan molecular farming. Biotechnology advances 29, 210-22.

Bharadwaj, A., Leelavathi1, S., Mazumdar-Leighton, S., Ghosh, A., Ramakumar, S., Reddy, VS. 2010. The Critical Role of N- and C-Terminal Contact in Protein Stability and Folding of a Family 10 Xylanase under Extreme Conditions. PLOS One 5(6) e11347.

Khan, T., Reddy, VS., Leelavathi, S. 2009. High frequency regeneration via somatic embryogenesis of an elite recalcitrant cotton genotype (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and efficient Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Plant Cell Tiss Org Cul 102, 323-30.

Obembe, OO., Leelavathi, S., Reddy, VS. 2009. Advances in plastid transformation. In: Flower, Retrospect and Prospect. Ed. Y. Vimla. S R Scientific Publications, New Delhi, pp187-202.

Bharadwaj, A., Leelavathi1, S., Mazumdar-Leighton, S., Ghosh, A., Ramakumar, S., Reddy, VS. 2008. The Critical Role of Partially Exposed N-Terminal Valine Residue in Stabilizing GH10 Xylanase from Bacillus sp.NG-27 under Poly-Extreme Conditions. PLOS One 3(8), e3063.

Nguyen, HT., Leelavathi, S., Reddy, VS. 2004. Bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase directed inducible and tissue specific overexpression of foreign genes in transgenic plants. Plant Biotechnol J. 2, 301-10.

Leelavathi, S., Sunnichan, VG., Kumria, R., Vijaykanth, GP., Bhatnagar, RK., Reddy, VS. 2004. A simple and rapid Agrobacterium-mediated transformation protocol for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.): Embryogenic calli as a source to generate large numbers of transgenic plants. Plant Cell Rep 22, 465-70

Kumria, R., Sunnichan, VG., Das, DK., Gupta, SK., Reddy, VS., Bhatnagar, RK., Leelavathi, S. 2003. High frequency somatic embryogenesis and maturation into normal plants in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) through metabolic stress. Plant Cell Rep 21, 635-39.

Leelavathi, S., Gupta, N., Maiti, S., Ghosh, A., Reddy, VS. 2003. Overproduction of an alkali and thermostable xylanase in tobacco chloroplasts and efficient recovery of the enzyme. Mol Breed 11, 59-67.

Leelavathi, S., Reddy, VS. 2003. Chloroplast expression of His-tagged GUS-fusions: A general strategy to overproduce and purify foreign proteins using transplastomic plants as bioreactors. Mol Breed 11, 49-58.

Reddy, VS., Leelavathi, S., Selvapandian, A., Raman,R., Giovanni, F., Shukla, V., Bhatnagar, RK. 2002. Analysis of chloroplast transformed tobacco plants with cry1Ia5 under rice psbA transcriptional elements reveal high level expression of Bt toxin without imposing yield penalty and stable inheritance of transplastome. Mol Breed 9, 259-69.

Reddy, VS., Leelavathi, S., Sen, SK. 1987. In vitro segregation of Marker genes in anther culture of rice. In vitro 23, 515-18.

Reddy, VS., Leelavathi, S., Sen, SK. 1985. Influence of genotype and culture medium on microspore callus induction and green plant regeneration in anthers of Oryza sativa. Physiol Plant. 63, 309-14.

Leelavathi, S., Reddy, VS., Sen, SK. 1984. Somatic cell genetic studies in Brassica species I. High frequency production of haploid plants in Brassica alba. Plant Cell Reports 3, 102-105.