National Institute of Plant Genome Research
    Dr. Praveen Verma
    Staff Scientist V
    M.Sc., Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
    Ph. D., Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
    Tel : 91-11-26741612,14,17 Ext - 114
    Direct - 91-11-26735114
    Fax: 91-11-26741658
Staff Scientist IV, National Institute for Plant Genome Research (2008-Present);
Staff Scientist III, National Institute for Plant Genome Research (2003-2008);
Staff Scientist II, National Institute for Plant Genome Research (1998-2003).
 Research Interests
Plant Immunity: Functional Genomics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions
The growth and survival of plants depends upon their tolerance to pathogens present in environment. Pathogens have developed sophisticated molecular weapons to exploit host for food and shelter while plants have evolved a multi- layered immune system against them. Whether a plant is susceptible or resistant to infection depends upon genotype of the plant and nature of the pathogen and its modes of pathogenesis. Pathogens have evolved sophisticated molecular weapons to exploit plants as sources of food and shelter and while plants have evolved large collections of arsenal to detect pathogens and activate cellular defenses.

We adopted an important legume crop chickpea (Cicer arietinum) and its devastating necrotrophic pathogen Ascochyta rabiei (causal agent of Ascochyta Blight) as a system for plant-pathogen interaction study. My lab is working to address two interrelated biological questions:
  1. How plants induce their immune system against fungal invasion?

    My laboratory is interested to delineate the regulatory and signalling mechanisms for their role in the early phases of disease establishment. We have isolated several early responsive chickpea genes using transcript profiling strategies and characterizing some of them related to signalling and transcription factors for their functional role in induced immune response of chickpea. Protein network of this process is also being carried out by using proteomics approaches and yeast-two-hybrid systems. Further, we are using the next-generation sequencing strategies to perform mRNA sequencing and generation of ORFeomes.

  2. How a necrotrophic pathogens manipulate themselves as well as plant cells to proliferate in a hostile environment?

    The necrotrophic pathogens proliferate and kill host cells regardless of the oxidative stress conditions due to host response and also generated by themselves. We hypothesize that the necrotrophic fungi must have some intricate mechanism which allows it to survive under oxidative stress conditions and colonize. A portfolio of novel candidate genes from Ascochyta rabiei has been isolated for the study their role in virulence and pathogenesis. Functional analysis of these genes revealed new virulence factors and also the processes necessary for fungus infection to cope with oxidative stress conditions. We are also looking for the fungal effectors specific to the necrotrophic pathogen using genomics and proteomics approaches.
Functional Genomics of Chickpea-Helicoverpa Interactions
My lab is also interested to study the induced immune responses during plant-herbivore interactions. We are addressing following question:
  1. How plants sense and induce immune response against the herbivore attack?

    Plants respond to both pathogen and herbivore attack by constitutive and induced defense mechanisms. The direct induced defences operate via defence-related protein expression, reinforcement of the cell wall, biosynthesis of secondary compounds, and production of reactive oxygen species. One of the major threats of chickpea is the generalist herbivore, Helicoverpa armigera, which damages the aerial parts of the plant, including leaves and pods. We have isolated several genes and trying to elucidate the complex signalling pathways leads to immunity using genomics and proteomics approaches.
 Group Members
Dr. Kamal KumarResearch Associate
Dr. Vikas SrivastavaResearch Associate
Ms. Sandhya Verma Ph.D student
Ms. ManishaPh.D student
Ms. Savithri PurayannurPh.D student
Mr. Shreenivas K. SinghPh.D student
Ms. Kanchan PrabhaPh.D student
Ms Umang Koul JRF
Mr. Ratneshwar ThakurTechnical Staff II
 Selected Publications
Nizam S, Gazara RK, Verma S, Singh K and Verma PK (2014) Comparative structural modeling of six old yellow enzymes (OYEs) from the necrotrophic fungus Ascochyta rabiei: Insight into novel OYE classes with differences in cofactor binding, organization of active site residues and stereopreferences. PLoS One (In Press).
Hasan S, Singh K, Danisuddin M, Verma PK, Khan AU (2014) Inhibition of major virulence pathways of Streptococcus mutans by Quercitrin and Deoxynojirimycin: a synergistic approach of infection control. PLoS ONE (In Press).
Nizam S, Verma S, Borah NN, Gazara RK, Verma PK (2014) Comprehensive genome-wide analysis reveals different classes of enigmatic old yellow enzyme in fungi. Scientific Reports (In Press).
Purwar S, Sundaram S, Verma P, Srivastava S and Kumar A (2012) A physiologically regulated multidomain cystatin of wheat shows stage-dependent immunity against karnal bunt (Tilletia indica). Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol. DOI 10.1007/s12010-012-9941-z (In Press).
Hasan S, Danishuddin M, Adil M, Singh K, Verma PK, Khan AU (2012) Efficacy of E. officinalis on the cariogenic properties of Streptococcus mutans: a novel and alternative approach to suppress quorum sensing mechanism. PloS One (In press).
Yadav S, Kushwaha HR, Kumar K, Verma PK (2012) Comparative structural modelling of a Monothiol GRX from chickpea: Insight in Iron-Sulfur Cluster assembly. Int. J. Biol. Macromol. (doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2012.05.014)
Khan R, Adil, M, Danishuddin, Verma PK, Khan AU (2012) In vitro and in vivo inhibition of Streptococcus mutans by Trachyspermum ammi seeds: An approach of alternative medicine. Phytomedicine (doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.04.004.
Kumar K, Yadav S, Purayannur S, Verma PK (2012) An alternative approach in Gateway cloning when the bacterial antibiotic selection cassettes of the entry clone and destination vector are the same. Mol. Biotechnol. (10.1007/s12033-012-9549-0).
Singh K, Nizam S, Sinha M and Verma PK (2012) Comparative transcriptome analysis of the necrotrophic fungus Ascochyta rabiei during oxidative stress: insight for fungal survival in the host plant. PLoS One. 7(3): e33128.
Nizam S, Verma S, Singh K, Aggarwal R, Srivastava KD and Verma PK (2012) High reliability transformation of the wheat pathogen Bipolaris sorokiniana using Agrobacterium tumefaciens. J. Microbiol. Methods 88(3): 386-392.
Jaiswal P, Cheruku JR, Kumar K, Yadav S, Singh A, Kumari P, Dube SC, Upadhyaya KC and Verma PK (2012) Differential transcript accumulation in chickpea during early phases of compatible interaction with a necrotrophic fungus Ascochyta rabiei. Mol. Biol. Rep. 39: 4635-4646.
Islam MN, Nizam S and Verma PK (2012) A highly efficient Agrobacterium mediated transformation system of chickpea wilt pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceri using DsRed-Express to follow root colonization. Microbiol. Res. 167(6): 332-338.
Kushwaha HR, Kumar G, Verma PK, Singla-Pareek SL and Pareek A (2011) Analysis of a salinity induced BjSOS3 protein from Brassica indicate it to be structurally and functionally related to its ortholog from Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 49: 996-1004.
Nizam S, Singh, K and Verma PK (2010) Expression of the fluorescent proteins DsRed and EGFP to visualize early events of colonization of the chickpea blight fungus Ascochyta rabiei Current Genetics 56 (4): 391-399.
Singh A, Singh IK and Verma PK (2008) Differential Transcript Accumulation in Cicer arietinum L. in Response to a Chewing Insect Helicoverpa armigera and Defense Regulators Correlate with Reduced Insect Performance J. Exp. Bot. 59(9): 2379-2392.
Anjanasree KN, Verma PK and Bansal KC (2005) Differential expression of tomato ACC oxidase gene family in relation to fruit ripening. Current Science 89(8): 1394-1399
Boominathan P, Shukla R, Kumar A, Manna D, Negi D, Verma PK and Chattopadhyay D (2004) Long term transcript accumulation during the development of dehydration adaptation in Cicer arietinum L. Plant Physiology. 135(3): 1608-1620.
Thakur IS, Verma PK and Upadhyaya KC (2002) Molecular cloning and characterization of pentachlorophenol-degrading monooxygenase genes of Pseudomonas sp. from the chemostat. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 290: 770-774.
Thakur IS, Verma PK and Upadhyaya KC (2001) Involvement of plasmid in degradation of pentachlorophenol by Pseudomonas sp. From a chemostat. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 286: 109-113.
Verma PK and Upadhyaya KC (1998) A multiplex RT-PCR assay for analysis of relative transcript levels of different members of multigene families: Application to Arabidopsis calmodulin gene family. IUBMB Life 46(4): 699-706.
 Book Chapter
Kumar K and Verma PK (2012) Genomics of filamentous phytopathogens: new insight in pathogenesis and virulence. In: Chowdappa, P (ed), Molecular Approaches for Plant Fungal Disease Management. Westville Pub., New Delhi, India, (In Press).
Kumar K and Verma PK (2012) Plant pathogen interactions: crop improvement under adverse conditions. In: Tuteja N, Gill SS (eds), Plant Acclimation to Environmental Stress. Springer Science, New York, USA, (In Press).
Verma PK and Nizam S (2011) Genome sequencing and its reference to plant pathogens. In: Thind TS, Jain RK, Sharma P, Khurana SMP, Aggarwal R, Sharma RK, Singh D, Dubey SC, Kumar A (compiled by), Plant Pathology in India: Vision 2030. Indian Phytopathological Society, New Delhi, India, pp186-190.