Prof. M. V. Rajam (Superannuated)

1 
Ph.D (Botany):  Kakatiya University, India. 
Post-doctorate: Yale University, New Haven, USA.


2

Research focus in Prof. M. V. Rajam laboratory in the last more than three decades has been on addressing major phenomenon such as abiotic and biotic stresses, excessive fruit ripening and induction of male sterility; and unraveling the role of polyamines in in vitro plant regeneration and stress tolerance in crop plants. Development of improved Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation protocols in crop plants in the early years, and RNAi- and artificial miRNA- mediated silencing in the last more than a decade have been the major tools used in the current research programmes for developing tomato and other crops for resistance against pathogens and insect pests. Significant contributions in these areas of research are summarized below:Fig. 3_RNAi & Fungal Resistance in Tomato

Isolation, characterization and targeting of about 17 vital genes, including Ornithine decarboxylase, Agininosuccinate lyase, MAP kinases, Chorismate synthase, Peroxisomal biogenesis factor 6 and β-1,3-glucanosyltransferse in fungal pathogens (Fusarium oxysporum and Colletotricum gloeosporioides); and Acetylcholinesterase, Chitinase, Chitin synthase, Ecdysone receptor, Intestinal mucins and Sericotropin in insect pests (Helicoverpa armigera, Leucinodes orbanalis and Plutella xylostella) for their control in tomato/chilli, and tomato/brinjal/cauliflower respectively through host-induced RNAi and artificial miRNAs.

  • Development of novel RNAi and artificial miRNA based strategies for the control of viruses and insect pests in rice and tomato.
  • Development of tomato with delayed ripening and improved fruit quality, and male sterile lines using novel transgenic and RNAi approaches.
  • Developed, for the first time, an efficient Agrobacterium tumefaciens  mediated genetic transformation for Chlamydomonasreinhardtii, a single cell alga with major applications in biotechnology.
  • Novel demonstration of the enhancement of Vir gene induction and T-DNA transfer in Agrobacterium by polyamines, and its successful use in improving the transformation efficiencty in brinjal.
  • Provided first evidence for the involvement of polyamine biosynthesis gene (samdc)and mannitol synthesis gene (mtlD) in conferring biotic (fungal pathogens) stress tolerance in transgenic tobacco and brinjal plants.
  • Demonstration of engineered polyamine and mannitol accumulation conferring abiotic stress tolerance in rice, brinjal and peanut.
  • Development of marker-free transgenic tomato through co-transformation method with high transformation frequency for abiotic stress tolerance using mtlD gene.
  • Demonstration of the involvement of thaumatin gene in both abiotic and biotic stress tolerance in tobacco.
  • Development of transgenic rice for resistance against Tungro virus using coat-protein and ORF-IV genes of RTBV and RTSV.
  • Development of an efficient and reliable plant regeneration and Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation for indica rice, eggplant, tomato and red pepper.
  • Deciphering the role of polyamine biosynthetic genes namely Ornithine decarboxylase, Arginine decarboxylase and S-Adenosylmethionine decarboxylase in invitro regeneration, reproduction and abiotic stress tolerance in tobacco by developing over-expressing and RNAi lines.
  • Demonstration of polyamines as important determinants of invitro plant regeneration in rice, brinjal and tomato.
  • Novel demonstration of the restoration of plant regeneration in long-term callus cultures of rice by manipulation of cellular polyamine concentrations and adjusting the ratio between the diamine putrescine and polyamines spermidine and spermine.
  • Development of an efficient protocol for Agrobacterium- mediated genetic transformation of Taxus baccata callus cultures (Indian Patent granted in 2001 with Dabur Research Foundation).

 Publications during the last five years

  • Gupta A, Pandey R, Sinha R, Chowdhary A, Pal RK & Rajam MV. 2019. Improvement of post-harvest fruit characteristics in tomato by fruit specific over-expression of oat arginine decarboxylase gene. Plant Growth Regul. 88: 61-71.
  • Gulzar B, Mujib A, Rajam MV, Frukh A & Zafar N. 2019. Identification of somatic embryogenesis (SE) related proteins through label-free shotgun proteomic method and cellular role in Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don. Plant Cell, Tiss, Org. Cult. Doi.10.1007/s11240-019-01563-0.
  • Tetorya M & Rajam MV. 2018. RNA silencing of PEX6 gene causes decrease in pigmentation, sporulation and pathogenicity of Fusarium oxysporum. Plant Pathol. 67: 67-75, Doi: 10.1111/ppa.12712.
  • Gulati P, Kaur P, Rajam MV, Srivastava T, Ali MA, Mishra P, Islam SS. 2018. Leukemia biomarker detection by using photoconductive response ofCNT electrode: Analysis of sensing mechanism based on chargetransfer induced Fermi level fluctuation. Sensors Actuators B 270: 45-55.
  • Gulati P, Kaur P, Rajam MV, Srivastava T, Mishra P, Islam SS. 2018. Single-wall carbon nanotube based electrochemical immunoassay for leukemia detection. Analy. Biochem. 10.1016/j.ab.2018.07.020.
  • Mahto BK, Sharma P, Rajam MV, Reddy PM & Dhar-Ray S. 2018. An efficient method for Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation of chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Ind. J. Plant Physiol. doi.org/10.1007/s40502-018-0389-1.
  • Pareek M & Rajam MV. 2017. RNAi-mediated silencing of MAP kinase signalling genes (Fmk1, Hog1 and Pbs2) n Fusarium oxysporum reduces pathogenesis on tomato plants. Fungal Biol. 121: 775-784.
  • Choubey A & Rajam MV. 2017. Transcriptome response and developmental implications of RNAi-mediated ODC knockdown in tobacco. Funct. Integr. Genomics 17(4): 399-412. DOI 10.1007/s10142-016-0539-3.
  • Israni B & Rajam MV. 2017. Silencing of ecdysone receptor, insect intestinal mucin and sericotropin genes by bacterially produced double stranded RNA affects larval growth and development in Plutella xylostella and Helicoverpa armigera. Insect Molecular Biology 26(2): 164-180. doi: 10.1111/imb.12277.
  • Upadhyay A, Kochar M, Rajam MV & Srivastava S. 2017. Players over the Surface: Unraveling the role of expolysaccharides in Zinc biosorption by fluorescent Pseudomonas strain Psd. Frontiers in Microbiology. 8:284 doi 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00284.
  • Upadhyay A, Kochar M, Upadhyay A, Tripathy S, Rajam MV & Srivastava S. 2017. Small RNAs regulate the biocontrol property of fluorescent Pseudomonas strain Psd. Microbiol. Res. 196: 80-88.
  • Yogindran S & Rajam MV. 2016. Artificial miRNA-mediated silencing of ecdysone receptor (EcR) affects larval development and oogenesis in Helicoverpa armigera. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 77: 21-30.
  • John R, Ganeshan U, Singh BN, Kaul T, Reddy MK, Sopory SK & Rajam MV. 2016. Over-expression of Topoisomerase II enhances salt stress tolerance in tobacco. Frontiers Plant Sci. 7: 1-9.
  • Koul A, Yogindran S, Sharma D, Kaul S, Rajam MV & Dhar MK. 2016. Carotenoid profiling, in silico analysis and transcript profiling of miRNAs targeting carotenoid biosynthetic pathway genes in different developmental tissues of tomato.  Plant Physiol. Biochem. 108: 412-421.
  • Mamta, Reddy KRK & Rajam MV. 2016. Targeting chitinase gene of Helicoverpa armigera by host-induced RNA interference confers insect resistance in tobacco and tomato. Plant Mol. Biol. 90: 281–292. DOI 10.1007/s11103-015-0414-y.
  • Pandey R, Gupta A, Chowdhary A, Pal RK & Rajam MV. 2015. Over-expression of mouse ornithine decarboxylase gene under the control of fruit-specific promoter enhances fruit quality in tomato. Plant Mol. Biol. 87: 249-260. DOI10.1007/s11103-014-0273-y.
  • Gupta ED, Pachauri M, Ghosh PC & Rajam MV. 2015. Targeting polyamine biosynthetic pathway through RNAi causes the abrogation of MCF7 breast cancer cell line. Tumor Biol. 37(1):1159-71 DOI 10.1007/s13277-015-3912-2.
  • Singh D, Haicour R, Sihachakr D & Rajam MV. 2015. Expression of rice chitinase gene in transgenic eggplant confers resistance to fungal wilts. Indian J. Biotechnol. 14: 233-240.
  • Vijaya Lakshmi T, Varalaxmi Y, Yadav SK, Rajam MV & Maheswari M. 2015. Metabolic engineering of SK2-type of dehydrin1 (DHN1) gene isolated from Sorghum bicolor enhances tolerance to water-deficit and NaCl stresses in transgenic tobacco. Plant Omics J 8(6):556-564.
  • Dhir B & Rajam MV. 2015. Soil amendment with municipal sludge does not alter the physiological status of Solanum melongena. J Plant Biochem Physiol, 3:1 DOI: 10.4172/2329-9029.1000141.
  • Singh D, Ambroise A, Haicour R, Sihachakr D & Rajam MV. 2014. Increased resistance to fungal wilts in transgenic eggplant expressing alfalfa glucanase gene. Physiol. Mol. Biol. Plants  20:143-50  DOI: 10.1007/s12298-0140225 7.
  • Madhulatha P, Aarti Gupta, Saaraj Gupta, Anuj Kumar, Pal RK & Rajam MV. 2014. Fruit-specific over-expression of human S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase gene results in polyamine accumulation and affects diverse aspects of tomato fruit development and quality. J. Plant Biochem. Biotechnol. 23: 151-160. DOI: 10.1007/s 13562-013-0194-x.
  • Natarajaswamy K, Naorem A & Rajam MV. 2013. Targeting fungal genes by diced siRNAs: A rapid tool to decipher gene function in Aspergillus nidulans. PLoS ONE 8 (10): e75443.
  • Sinha R & Rajam MV. 2013. RNAi silencing of three homologues of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase gene in tapetal tissue of tomato results in male sterility. Plant Mol. Biol. 82: 169-180 DOI 10.1007/s11103-013-0051-2 .
  • Aarti Gupta, Pal RK & Rajam MV. 2013. Delayed ripening and improved fruit processing quality in tomato by RNAi-mediated silencing of three homologs of ACC synthase gene. J. Plant Physiol. 170: 987-995.

Lab Information

On-going Research Projects

  1. Department of Biotechnology: September 2, 2014 – September 1, 2019, including 2 years of extension.  Engineering ToLCV resistance in tomato by using single and multiple artificial micro RNAs and synthetic rep gene containing multiple mutations to resist VIGS. Cost: Rs. 147.45 lakhs (Coordinator & PI: Rajam MV)
  2. Department of Biotechnology: October 19, 2016 – October 18, 2019. Functional validation of yield related genes. Cost: Rs. 37.66 lakhs (Coordinator & PI: Rajam MV)
  3. Department of Biotechnology: May 2019 – May, 2022. CRISPR/Cas9 mediated control of the Gemini viruses involved in papaya leaf curl disease. Cost: Rs. 51.8 lakhs (Co-PI) 

Research Team

Postdoctoral Fellows Working

  1. Dr. Paramita Bera       -      2017 – Till now
  2. Dr. Ranjeet Kaur         -      2018 – Till now

Ph.D Students Working

  1. Shipra Saxena  - Development of Transgenic Brinjal (Solanum melongena L.) Resistant to  Shoot and Fruit Borer Insect Pest (Leucinodes orbonalis Guenee) by Using RNAi Strategy
  2. Arundhati Ghosh   -  Engineering virus resistance in tomato by targeting viral genes using polycitronic artificial miRNA constructs
  3. Sambhavana – Development of tomato resistant to fruit borer (Helicoverpa armigera) by silencing insect-specific miRNA genes
  4. Aparajitha – Host induced silencing of Maruca vitrata genes for insect resistance in cowpea (Vigna unquiculata)
  5. Ruby Tiwari -  RNA interference based strategies for engineering abiotic stress tolerance in soybean
  6. Priyanka – Transgenic approaches for improving rice yield – 1st Feb 2017
  7. Srinivas Rao P – Improvement of yield in north east region Black rice by transgenic approach
  8. Alisha Gupta - Production of gugulsterone E and Z from tissue cultures and its enhancement by over-expression of squalene synthase and cycloartenol synthase genes in guggul (Comniphora mukul)

Honors & Awards of Prof. Rajam

  • Fellow of The Indian National Science Academy (New Delhi) - 2015
  • Fellow of The National Academy of Sciences, India (Allahabad) - 2007
  • Fellow of The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India (New Delhi) - 2012
  • Fellow of The Telangana State Academy of Sciences (FTSAS) - 2012
  • Fellow of The Association of Biotechnology and Pharmacy, Guntur, AP (FABAP) - 2010
  • Elected Member, Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology Association (India) since 1995 and life member of many other learned scientific societies.
  • Awarded Prof. H. C. Arya Gold Medal, 2018 and delivered his Memorial Lecture during 40th PTCA (I) meeting during February 14-16, 2019, IIT, Gauwati.
  • Delivered Steward Memorial Lecture, PTCA (I) during 37th Annual Meeting of PTCA (I), Mangalore, January 29-31, 2015
  • Served as a Member of the Task Force Committee on RNAi Technology, DBT
  • Member, Research Advisory Committee, ICGEB, New Delhi 2018 -
  • Member of the 'National Advisory Board' of the "Sir Richard Roberts Centre for Genetically Modified Organism", Amity University, Noida 2018 -
  • Served as a Member of Advisory Board for M. Sc. Biotechnology Program, Kakatiya University, Waranagal, AP.
  • Served as a Member of the Advisory Committe of the 'Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation', Jalna,
  • Served as a Member, Scientific Advisory Board, SriBiotech. Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad
  • Served as a Associate Editor of BMC Biotechnology (UK)  and  Editorial Board member of OMICS group journal Cell & Dev Biol.
  • Associate Editor/Editorial Member of J. Biosciences; Physiol. Mol. Biol. Plants (Springer); J. Plant Biochem. Biotechnol., Plant Cell Biotechnol. Mol. Biol. and Indian J. Biotechnol.
  • Served as a Consultant Editor of Indian J. Plant Physiol.
  • Referee for several international and national journals
  • Award of the Rockefeller Foundation Biotech Career Fellowship – 1998 (could not be availed)
  • Award of ‘Shiksha Rattan Puraskar’ by the India International Friendship Society, New Delhi 2011
  • Award of the DBT National Associateship – 1994

Recently attended meetings by Prof. Rajam

  • Mini-symposium on “New Ideas in Biology” and Journal of Biosciences Editorial Meeting, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bengaluru, July 2-27, 2019
  • 10th RNA Group Meet, Rajive Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Trivandram. May 2-4, 2019
  • Workshop on “Plant Stress Biology and Food Security”, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi. April 18-20, 2019
  • National Seminar on “Biotechnology Research in India – Current Status and Future Prospects”. Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), New Delhi. March 26-27, 2019
  • XIV Agricultural Science Congress, National Agricultural Science Complex, New Delhi. February 20-23, 2019
  • National Conference on “Trends in Life Sciences and Biotechnology: Innovative Paradigms”, Maitreyi College (University of Delhi), New Delhi. February 19-20, 2019
  • 40th Plant Tissue Culture Association, India Annual Meeting and International Conference on “Trends in Plant Sciences and Agrobiotechnology-2019”. Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. February 14-16, 2019
  • Telangana State Science Congress. Telangana Academy of Sciences and National Institute of Technology, Warangal. December 22-24, 2018
  • National Level Seminar on Recent Developments in Plant Stress Biology. Central University of Jammu. December 7-8, 2108
  • 4th International Plant Physiology Congress – 2018. National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow and Indian Society for Plant Physiology. December 2-5, 2018
  • National Symposium on Connecting Innovations in Plant Biology for Food and Nutritional Security. IARI, New Delhi. November 19, 2018
  • International Conference on Interdisciplinary Approaches Towards Environmental Sustainability, International Society for Life Sciences and Indian Science Congress Association, Jaipur Chapter. November 15-17, 2018
  • International Conference on Virology “INTERVIROCON-2018”,  Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh. November 12-14, 2018
  • National Symposium on Recent Trends in Plant Sciences. Kakatiya University, Warangal. September 9-10, 2018
  • Lecture Series under UGC-CAS Programme. Osmania University, May 31, 2018
  • 39th Annual Meeting of the Plant Tissue Culture Association (India) and National Symposium on on Plant Biotechnology: Recent Trends in Plant Propagation, Genetic Improvement & Industrial Applications. Arid Forest Research Institute, Jodhpur. February 15-17, 2018
  • International Conference on Environmental Challenges and Their Impact on Plants and Human Health. International Society for Life Sciences and Indian Science Congress Association, Jaipur Chapter. St. Wilfred’s  P.G. College, Jaipur. January 15-17, 2018
  • 38th Annual Meeting of the Plant Tissue Culture Association (India) and National Symposium on ‘Plant Biotechnology: Current Perspectives on Medicinal and Crop Plants’, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata. March 3-5, 2017
  • National Seminar on ‘Genetically Modified Food and Food Security (GMFFS) – 2017, Shree M. and N. Virani Science College, Rajkot, February 10-11, 2017
  • International Symposium on ‘Plant Biotechnology for Crop Improvement’, Indian Institute of Technology Guwati, Guwati. January 20-22, 2017

Some Lab Photographs

Fig. 5_Prof. Higgs (Australia) visit to lab under INSA program-2018 (1)Fig. 2_Research Team (1)