Research Groups

Plant Biology: Plant Transformation

Research Interests and Description

Group Leader: S. Leelavathi, PhD

Group Members

Research Interests

Genetic improvement of crop plants, chloroplast genetic engineering, molecular farming, biofuels, cotton genomics.

Description of Research

Cotton and Rice improvement Cotton is a commercially important cash crop. Biotechnological approaches are followed  to introduce  insect and virus resistance and improve the fibre quality.  The Group has developed protocols for high frequency  regeneration of cotton through somatic embryogenesis and also developed procedures for efficient transformation to introduce foreign genes. These methods were successfully used to produce transgenic events expressing different cry genes (cry1Ia5, cry1Ac and VIP). The bioassay positive events conferring resistance against Helicoverpa armigera are being field evaluated. We also developed an effective regeneration and transformation system  for superior Indian cotton parental lines used in hybrid seed production. Based on this experience, we initiated a major project on the genomics of cotton boll and fibre development and identified a number of key genes/pathways important for fibre development and its quality.
Transgenic indica rice (IR 64) expressing cry1Ac have been developed and are being evaluated for insect resistance at the Agriculture University, Raipur.

Bioenergy The renewable plant biomass is considered as a major future  source of  energy where cellulose can be converted into simple fermentable sugars which in turn can be converted further into ethanol. However, in order to produce biofuels based on plant biomass there is a need to develop technologies to produce cost-effective enzymes required in large quantities. Xylanase was taken as a model enzyme and over expressed for the first time using chloroplast genetic engineering. This work is viewed as a very important technological development in the field for the cost effective production of  cell wall degrading enzymes in large quantity using plants as bioreactors. Based on this we embarked a major bioenergy program in 2008 in collaboration with the University of Pavia, Italy with a the financial support from Fondazione Bussolera Branca, Italy to overproduce a variety of cellulases, xylanases, pectinases, lignases, etc., through chloroplast genetic engineering in tobacco, a non-food and non-feed plant. Our results not only showed the possibility to over produce these enzymes in tobacco but also provided evidence to the fact that the plant derived enzymes are biologically as active as their counterparts derived  from the native organisms. 

Recent Publications

Dass, A., Zainul Abdin, M., Reddy, S.R., Leelavathi, S.2016. Isolation and characterization of the dehydration stress-inducible GhRDL1 promoter from the cultivated upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). J Plant Biochem Biotechnol (In press)

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. Physiol Mol Biol Plant 23, 115-123 PubMed link

Pagliano, C., Bersanini, L., Cella, R., Longoni, P., Pantaleoni, L., Dass, A. Leelavathi, S., Reddy, V.S. 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 Biochem 111, 266-273 PubMed link

Kumar, S., Pandey, P., Kumar, K., Rajamani, V., Padmalatha,K. V., Dhandapani, G., Kanakachari, M., Leelavathi, S., Kumar, P.A., Reddy, V.S. 2016. Delineating the glycoproteome of elongating cotton fiber cells. Data Brief 5, 717–725 PubMed link

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., Reddy, V.S. 2015. 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, 1438-55 PubMed link

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 PubMed link


Method of expressing foreign protein in plastid. US Patent number US 9,175,300

Produzione di cellulasi ricombinanti di Chaetamium globosum in piante ransplastomic di tobacco. Italian Patent no. 0001406669/Italy

Produzione di cellulasi termostabili in piante transplastomiche di tabacco e loro impiedo per la digestione di substrati cellulosici Patent No 0001423979/Italy.

ICGEB New Delhi

ICGEB Campus
Aruna Asaf Ali Marg
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