Research Groups

Plant Biology: Plant RNAi Biology

Research Interests and Description

Group Leader: Neeti Sanan-Mishra, PhD


Research Interests

microRNA, RNAi, suppressors of RNAi, salt stress, heat stress, virus infection 

Description of Research

The Group is involved in understanding the RNAi mechanisms operative in rice plants in response to increasing soil salinity, high temperature and virus infection. The endeavour is to use this knowledge for crop improvement and protection through employing RNAi based technology. This assumes importance in the era of global climate change, as new approaches are required to address the emerging challenges for sustainable agriculture.
microRNAs (miRNAs) have been recognized as important regulatory factors in plant development and disease expression. We have adopted a two-pronged strategy of using bioinformatic predictions along with the traditional molecular biology and biochemical approaches to understand the miRNA regulatory networks operative in rice during abiotic (salt and temperature) and biotic (viruses) stresses. We have deep sequenced and analyzed the small RNAs in response to salt stress, viral infection and developmental cues from different local rice varieties. Work has been initiated to analyze the spatial and temporal accumulation of miRNAs to understand the fine- tuning of target gene expression in plant development. Few novel sequences have been identified and validated. Already 14 sequences have been deposited in mirBase (Osa-miR 2918-2932). This information is being used to tap the natural variation existent in the Indian rice cultivars and generate a small RNA database for rice in the Indian context. The translation of this knowledge by raising miRNA over-expressing rice plants is in progress. This will be useful to gain fundamental knowledge of plant responses to the environment leading to a range of applications for improving plant adaptation and sustaining yields. To gain an insight into the mechanism of miRNA (dis)-regulation studies are being done using viral suppressors of RNAi. This work involves understanding the role of suppressors in local and systemic silencing of miRNAs and identification of host interacting factors to gain an understanding of the suppressor mediated action. Suppressor overexpressing transgenic lines have been generated to follow the effects on miRNA expression profiles.

Recent Publications

Mittal D., Sharma N., Sharma V., Sopory S.K., Sanan-Mishra N. 2016. Role of microRNAs in rice plant under salt-stress. Annals Applied Biol 168, 2-18

Saraf S., Sanan-Mishra N., Gursanscky N.R., Carroll B.J., Gupta D., Mukherjee S.K. 2015. 3’ and 5’ microRNA-end post-biogenesis modifications in plant transcriptomes: evidences from small RNA next generation sequencing data analysis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 467, 892-899 PubMed link

Shafrin F., Das S.S., Sanan-Mishra N., Khan H. 2015. Artificial miRNA- mediated down-regulation of two monolignoid biosynthetic genes (C3H and F5H) cause reduction in lignin content in jute. Plant Mol Biol 89, 511-552 PubMed link

Tripathi A., Goswami K., Sanan-Mishra N. 2015. Role of bioinformatics in establishing miRs as modulators of abiotic stress responses: the new revolution. Front Physiol 6, 286 PubMed link

Das S.S., Karmakar P., Nandi A.K., Sanan-Mishra N. 2015. Small RNA mediated regulation of seed germination. Front Plant Sci 6, 828 PubMed link

Kumar V., Karjee S., Rehman J., Taneja J., Sundaresan G., Sanan-Mishra N., S.K. Mukherjee. 2015. Mungbean yellow mosaic Indian virus encoded AC2 protein suppresses RNA silencing by inhibiting Arabidopsis RDR6 and AGO1 activities. Virology. 486, 158–172 PubMed link


ICGEB New Delhi

ICGEB Campus
Aruna Asaf Ali Marg
110 067 New Delhi
Tel: +91-11-26741358/1007
Fax: +91-11-26742316




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