Prof. Pradeep K. Burma


The production of transgenic plants with expression of the transgene at the right place, time and level is important for its success. The laboratory has thus been working on identifying, analyzing and synthesizing novel promoters for transgene expression in plants. Apart from promoters, the laboratory has also investigated the role of 5’ UnTranslated Regions (5’UTR) and codon usage in expression of transgenes.

Current work in the laboratory focuses on analyzing two tapetum specific promoters, A9 from Arabidopsis and TA29 from tobacco. Recent work has identified transcription factors and cis-elements that act as either positive or negative regulators. The combinatorial role of these factors is currently being analyzed. The laboratory has also identified a promoter from cotton that expresses in the tapetum layer as well as in the roots.

Another area on work involves understanding some ‘overlooked’ features of the Bt. toxin, Cry1Ac used to generate insect resistant transgenic crops. During efforts to generate insect resistant cotton using cry1Ac gene it was observed that the cytosolic expression of the Cry1Ac protein impedes the regeneration and growth of transgenic cotton and tobacco. Further, it was shown that the problem could be circumvented by targeting the protein to the chloroplast. Work was thus initiated to understand its underlying reason for the adverse effect of the Cry1Ac protein.

Selected lab publications:

  • Verma N, Burma PK Regulation of tapetum-specific A9 promoter by transcription factors AtMYB80, AtMYB1 and AtMYB4 in Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana tabacum The Plant Journal 92:481-494, 2017.
  • Kanoria S and Burma PK A 28nt long synthetic 5ʹUTR (synJ) as an enhancer of transgene expression in dicotyledonous plants BMC Biotechnology 12:85 doi:10.1186/1472-6750-12-85, 2012.

Patents and Technology Transfer:

  • Regulation of lethal gene expression in plants. Pental D, Jagannath A, Bandyopadhay P, Arumugam N, Gupta V, Burma PK US Patent: US 6,833,494 dated 21.12.2004
  • A insect resistant cotton line Tg2E-13 was transferred to Punjab Agricultural University to transfer the cry1Ac gene into high yielding lines and hybrids of cotton developed by PAU.