National Institute of Plant Genome Research
Digital India   Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav     
    Dr. Alok Krishna Sinha
    FASc, FNA, FNASc; Staff Scientist VII
    JC Bose National Fellow
    Ph.D: National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow
    Postdoctoral Fellow: University of Regensburg (AvH fellow) and University of Wuerzburg Germany
    Tel: 91-11-26741612,14,17 Ext. - 188
    Direct - 26735188
    Fax: 91-11-26741658
 Awards & Honors
2020: Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences (FASc), Bangalore, India
2019: Fellow of Indian National Science Academy (FNA), New Delhi, India
2011: Fellow of National Academy of Sciences (FNASc), Allahabad, India
2016: Elected Member, Guha Research Conference
Prof. S.K. Sopory Endowment Lecture Award -2023 from Indian Society for Plant Physiology, New Delhi
2021: JC Bose National Fellowship from Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India
2015- 2016: TATA Innovation Fellowship of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India
2013: National Bioscience Award for Career Development from Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India
2011: B.C. Deb Memorial Award from Indian Science Congress, Association
2004 - 2007: DST Young Scientist
2010: Re-invitation as Alexander von Humboldt Fellow AvH foundation, Bonn, Germany
2007-2009: DST-DAAD fellow
2006: Re-invitation as Alexander von Humboldt Fellow AvH foundation, Bonn, Germany
1998 - 2000: Alexander von Humboldt fellowship AvH foundation, Bonn, Germany
 Research Highlights

A working model of MAPK Cascade involved in regulating submergence
tolerance in rice (Singh and Sinha, Plant Cell 2016).

A working model of MAPK cascade involved in regulating
blue light signaling through MYC2 transcription factor
in Arabidopsis seedling development (Sethi et al, Plant Cell 2014).

A proposed model showing MKK3-MPK6-MYC2 cascade negatively regulates
salt stress via proline biosynthesis (Verma et al. FEBS Journal, 2019)

MKKK20 is the upstream kinase of the MKK3-MPK6-MYC2 module in photomorphogenesis. MYC2 on the other hand regulates the MKKK20-MKK3-MPK6 cascade during Arabidopsis seedling development. (Ohja, Verma et al. 2023, iScience 26, 106049).

 Research Interests
Understanding mitogen activated protein kinase cascade in plants
Our group is interested in understanding the complexity of signals being transduced through mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade in plants. The MAPK cascade is evolutionarily conserved among the eukaryotes and typically consists of three types of protein kinases, MAPK, MAPK kinase (MAPKK), and MAPKK kinase (MAPKKK). By responding to external stimuli, the MAPK cascade plays a critical role in gene expression, metabolism, cell death, proliferation, and differentiation. In plants, the MAPK cascade is also involved in various biotic and abiotic stress responses, hormone responses, cell division, and developmental processes. Rice and Arabidopsis are two-model system we are using to understand this complex signaling cascade. By using a combination of molecular and biochemical techniques along with genomics and proteomic approaches we are trying to identify the function of specific MAPKs. Our main focus lies in understanding the role of MAPKs during development and abiotic stresses, both in rice and Arabidopsis.
 Group Members
 Detailed Research Publications
 Selected Research Publications
Rengasamy B, Manna M , Jonwal S, Sathiyabama M, Thajuddin NB, AK Sinha (2024) A simplified and improved protocol of rice transformation to cater wide range of rice cultivars. Protoplasma,
Singh K, Sharma D, Bhagat PK, Tayyeba S, Noruang S, Sinha AK (2024) Phosphorylation of AGO1a by MAP kinases is required for miRNA mediated resistance against Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae infection in rice. Plant Science, 340, 111967
Singh D, Banerjee G, Verma N, Sinha AK (2023). MAP Kinases may mediate regulation of the cell cycle in rice by E2F2 phosphorylation. FEBS letters,
Banerjee G, Singh D, Pandey C, Jonwal S, Basu U, Parida SK, Pandey A, Sinha AK. (2023) Rice mitogen-activated activated protein kinase, regulates serotonin, accumulation and interacts with cell cycle regulator under prolong UVB exposure. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 108078
Mirza Z, Jonwal S, Saini H, Sinha AK, Gupta M (2023). Unravelling the molecular aspects of iron mediated OSWRKY76 signalling and arsenic stress in rice. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 108136
Jonwal S, Rengasamy B, Sinha AK (2023). Regulation of photosynthesis by Sigma activated protein kinase in rice antagonistic adjustment by OsMPK3 and OsMPK6. Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, 1-13
Manna M, Rengaswamy B, and Sinha AK (2023) Revisiting the role of MAPK signalling pathway in plants and its manipulation for crop improvement. Plant Cell & Environment; DOI: 10.1111/pce.14606
Sharma D, Singh D, Singh K, Dwivedi A, Ranjan A, AK Sinha (2023). Phosphorylation of PIF3 bye MPK6 is required for coordinated regulation of miRNA biogenesis and hypocotyl elongation in Arabidopsis, Environmental and Experimental Botany, 105345
Ojha M, Verma D, Chakraborty C, Pal A, Bhagat PK, Singh A, Verma N, Sinha AK*, Chattopadhyay S (2023). MKKK20 Works as an Upstream Triple-kinase of MKK3-MPK6-MYC2 Module in Arabidopsis Seedling Development. iScience
Chandan RK, Kumar R, Swain DM, Ghosh S, Bhagat PK, Patel S, Bagler G, Sinha AK, Jha G. (2023) RAV1 family members function as transcriptional regulators and play a positive role in plant disease resistance. The Plant Journal doi: 10.111/tpj.16114
Bhadouria J, Mehra P, Verma L, Pazhamala LT, Rumi R, Panchal P, Sinha AK, Giri J (2023) Root expressed rice PAP3b enhances secreted APase activity and helps utilize organic phosphate. Plant Cell Physiology, 00(00): 1-18 (2023) doi:
Manna M, Rengaswamy B, Ambasht NK and Sinha AK (2022) Characterization and expression profiling of PIN auxin efflux transporters reveals role in developmental and abiotic stress conditions in rice. Frontiers in Plant Science 4894; DOI 10.3389/fpls.2022.1059559
Bhagat PK, Sharma D, Verma D, Singh K, Sinha AK (2022). Arabidopsis MPK3 and MPK6 regulates D-glucose signaling and interacts with G-protein RGS1. Plant Science, 325, 111484.
Jonwal, S, Verma N and Sinha AK (2022) Regulation of photosynthetic light reaction proteins via reversible phosphorylation. Plant Science, 111312
Singh G, Banerjee G, Sarkar NK, Sinha AK and Grover A (2022) Transcriptional regulation of rice HSP101 promoter: Mitogen-activated protein kinase-mediated HSFA6a phosphorylation affects its stability and transactivation. Physiologia Plantarum 174:e13754;
Bhagat PK, Verma D, Singh K, Badmi R, Sharma D, Sinha AK (2022). Dynamic phosphorylation of miRNA biogenesis factor HYL1 by MPK3 involves nuclear- cytoplasmic shuttling and protein stability in Arabidopsis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23 (7), 3787
Mittal L, Tayyeba S and Sinha AK. (2022). Finding a breather for Oryza sativa: understanding hormone signaling pathways involved in rice plants to submergence stress. Plant Cell & Environment 45(2):279-295.
Jalmi SK and Sinha AK (2022). Ambiguities of PGPR-induced plant signaling and stress management. Frontiers in Microbiology. 13, 899563
Deepika D, Ankit, Jonwal S, Mali KV, Sinha AK, Singh A. (2021) Molecular analysis indicates the involvement of Jasmonic acid biosynthesis pathway in low- potassium (K+) stress response and development in chickpea (Cicer arietinum). Environmental and Experimental Botany, 194, 104753.
Bhagat PK, Verma D, Sharma, D and Sinha AK (2021). HY5 and ABI5 transcription factors physically interact to fine tune light and ABA signaling. Plant Molecular Biology, 107:117-127.
Verma D, Bhagat PK and Sinha AK (2021). A dual-specificity phosphatase, MAP kinase phosphatase 1, positively regulates blue light-mediated seedling development in Arabidopsis. Planta, 31:253(6) 131.
Verma D, Bhagat PK and Sinha AK (2020). MKK3-MPK6-MYC2 module positively regulates ABA biosynthesis and signalling in Arabidopsis. Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 29, 785-795.
Banerjee G., Singh D. and Sinha AK (2020) Plant cell cycle regulators: Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase, a new regulating switch? Plant Science 301, 110660.
Verma D, Jalmi SK, Bhagat PK and Sinha AK (2019). A bHLH transcription factor, MYC2, imparts salt intolerance by regulating proline biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. FEBS Journal, doi: 10.111/febs.15157.
Singh P, Ara H, Tayyeba S, Pandey C and Sinha AK (2019). Development of efficient protocol for rice transformation overexpressing MAP kinase and their effect on root phenotype traits.Protoplasma, 256:997-1011
Raghuram, B. Sheikh AH, Bhagat PK, Verma D, Noryang S and Sinha AK (2018) Possible role of plant MAP Kinases in the biogenesis and transcription regulation of rice microRNA pathway factors. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 129:238-243
Jalmi Sk, Bhagat PK, Verma, D, Noryang S, Tayyeba S, Singh K, Sharma D and Sinha AK (2018) Traversing the Links between Heavy Metal Stress and Plant Signaling. Front. Plant Sci fpls.2018.00012
Bhagat PK, Verma D, Raghuram B, Sinha AK (2018), Dynamic regulation of HYL1 provides new insights into its multifaceted role in Arabidopsis. BioRxiv 396861; doi:
Singh P and Sinha AK (2017) Interplay between auxin and cytokinin and its impact on mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK). Methods Mol. Biol. 1569: 93-100.
Thakore D, Srivastava AK and Sinha AK (2017) Mass production of Ajmalicine by bioreactor cultivation of hairy roots of  Catharanthus roseus. Biochemical Engineering J. 119: 84-91.
Jalmi SK and Sinha AK (2016). Functional Involvement of a Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase Module, OsMKK3-OsMPK7-OsWRK30 in Mediating Resistance against Xanthomonas oryzae in Rice. Scientific Reports. 6:37974. doi: 10.1038/srep37974.
Singh P and Sinha AK (2016) A positive feedback loop governed by Sub1A1 interaction with Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase 3 imparts submergence tolerance in rice. The Plant Cell, 28(5) 1127-43.
Sheikh AH, Eschen-lippold L, Pecher P, Hoehenwarter W. Sinha AK, Scheel D, and Lee J (2016). Regulation of WRKY46 transcription factor function by mitogen activated protein kinases in Arabidopsis thaliana. Frontiers in Plant Science 7.
Jalmi SK and Sinha AK (2015). ROS mediated MAPK signaling in abiotic and biotic stress-striking similarities and differences. Frontiers in Plant Science 6.
Singh P, Mohanta TK, Sinha AK (2015) Unraveling the intricate nexus of molecular mechanism governing rice root development: OsMPK3/6 and auxin-cytokinin interplay.  PLoS One 10(4):e0123620.
Raghuram, B. Sheikh AH, Rustagi Y, and Sinha AK (2015) MicroRNA biogenesis factor DRB1 is a phosphorylation target of mitogen activated protein kinase, MPK3 in both rice and Arabidopsis. FEBS Journal 282(3):521-36.
Pandey C, Raghuram B, Sinha AK and Gupta M. (2015). miRNA plays a role in the antagonistic effect of  selenium on arsenic stress in rice seedlings. Metallomics, 7(5), 857-866.
Sethi V, Raghuram B, Sinha AK* and Chattopadhyay S (2014). A mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade module, MKK3-MPK6 and MYC2, is involved in blue light-mediated seedling development in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell, 26(8):3343-57. doi: 10.1105/tpc.114.128702.
Sheikh AH, Raghuram, B, Esschel-Lipold L, Scheel D, Lee J, and Sinha AK Agroinfiltration bycytokinin producing Agrobacterium strain GV3101 primes the plant defense response in Nicotiana tabacum. Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction, 27(11):175-85 (doi/pdfplus/10.1094/MPMI-04-14-0114-R).
Raghuram, B. Sheikh AH and Sinha AK (2014) Regulation of MAP kinase signaling cascade by microRNAs in Oryza sativa. Plant Signaling and Behavior (In Press).
Verma M, Ghangal R, Sharma R, Sinha AK and Jain M (2014) Transcriptome analysis of Catharanthus roseus for gene discovery and expression profiling. PLoS One (9(7):e103583. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103583).
Kumar K and Sinha AK (2014) Identification of differential expression of genes in overexpressed constitutively activated mitogen activated protein kinase kinase 6 in rice. Plant Signaling Behavior, 1;9(3). Pii:e258502.
Sheikh AH, Raghuram B, Jalmi SK, Wankhede D.P, Singh P, and Sinha AK (2013) Interaction between two rice mitogen activated protein kinases and its possible role in plant defense. BMC Plant Biology, 13:121 doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-121.
Wankhede DP, Kundan K, Singh P and Sinha AK (2013) Involvement of mitogen activated protein kinase kinase 6 in UV induced transcripts accumulation of genes in phytoalexin biosynthesis in rice. Rice 6,(1),35.
Kumar K and Sinha AK (2013) Over expression of constitutively active mitogen activated protein kinase kinase 6 enhances tolerance to salt stress in rice. Rice 6,(1),25.
Wankhede DP, Misra M, Singh P and Sinha AK (2013) Rice MAPKK and MAPK interaction network revealed by in-silico docking and yeast two-hybrid approaches. PLoS One 8 (5), e65011.
Wankhede DP, Biswas DK, Rajkumar S and Sinha AK (2013) Expressed Sequence Tags and molecular cloning and characterization of gene encoding pinoresinol/lariciresinol reductase from Podophyllum hexandrum. Protoplasma. 1-11.
Raina SK, Wankhede DP and Sinha AK (2013) Catharanthus roseus mitogen-activated protein kinase 3 confers UV and heat tolerance to Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Plant Signal. Behav. 8(1).
Raina SK, Wankhede DP, Jaggi M, Singh P, Jalmi SK, Raghuram B, Sheikh AH and Sinha AK (2012). CrMPK3, a mitogen activated protein kinase from Catharanthus roseus and its possible role in stress induced biosynthesis of monoterpenoid indole alkaloids. BMC Plant Biology. 12(1):134.
Kumar S, Jaggi M and Sinha AK (2012). Ectopic overexpression of vacuolar and apoplastic Catharanthus roseus peroxidases confers differential tolerance to salt and dehydration stress in transgenic tobacco. Protoplasma 212, 423-432.
Hampp C,Richter A, Osorio S, Zellnig G, Sinha AK, Jammer A,Fernie AR,Grimm B, Roitsch T. (2012). Establishment of a photoautotrophic cell suspension culture of Arabidopsis thaliana for photosynthetic, metabolic, and signaling studies. Molecular Plant 5(2): 524-7.
Jaggi M., Kumar S., and Sinha A.K. (2011). Overexpression of an apoplastic peroxidase gene CrPrx in transgenic hairy root lines of Catharanthus roseus. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 90(3) 1005-1116.
Kumar S, Jaggi M, Taneja J and Sinha AK (2011). Cloning and characterization of two new Class III peroxidase genes from Catharanthus roseus. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 49(4) 404-412.
Kumar K, Rao KP, Biswas D and Sinha AK (2011). Rice WNK1 is regulated by abiotic stress and involved in internal circadian rhythm. Plant Signaling and Behavior 6(3) 316-320.
Sinha AK, Jaggi M, Raghuram B, and Tuteja N (2011). Mitogen activate dprotein kinase signaling in plant under abiotic stress. Plant Signaling and Behavior 6(2) 196-203.     [COVER ARTICLE].
Rao KP, Vani G, Kumar K, Wankhede DP, Misra M, Gupta M and Sinha AK (2011). Arsenic stress activates MAP kinase in rice roots and leaves. Archieves of Biochemistry and Biophysics 506, 73-82.
Bonfig KB, Gabler A, Simon UK, Luschin-Ebengreuth N, Hatz M, Berger S, Muhammad N, Zeier J, Sinha AK, Roitsch T (2010) Post-translational depression of invertase activity in source leaves via down regulation of invertase inhibitor expression is part of the plant defense response. Molecular Plant 3, 1037-1048.
Taneja J, Jaggi M, Wankhede DP, and Sinha AK (2010) Effect of loss of T-DNA genes on MIA biosynthetic pathway gene regulation and alkaloid accumulation in Catharanthus roseus hairy roots. Plant Cell Rep. 29(10) 1119-1129.
Rao KP, Richa T, Kumar K, Raghuram B and Sinha AK (2010). In silico analysis reveals 75 members of mitogen activated protein kinase kinase kinase gene family in rice. DNA Research, 17(3):139-53.
Rao KP, Vani G, Kumar K and Sinha AK (2009) Rhythmic expression of Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase Activity in Rice. Molecules and Cells 28, 417-422.
Gupta M, Sharma P, Sarin .B, and Sinha AK (2009). Differential responses of arsenic stress in two varieties of Brassica juncea. Chemosphere 74, 1201-1208.
Kumar K, Rao KP, Sharma P and Sinha AK (2008). Differential regulation of rice mitogen activated protein kinase kinase (MKK) by abiotic stress. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 46, 891-897.
Berger S, Sinha AK and Roitsch T. (2007). Plant physiology meets phytopathology: relations between plant primary metabolism and plant-pathogen-interactions. Journal of Experimental Botany 58, 4019-2026.
Kumar S, Dutta A, Sinha AK and Sen J. (2007). Cloning, characterization and localization of a novel basic peroxidase gene from Catharanthus roseus. FEBS Journal, 274, 1290-1303.
Thoma I, Loeffler C, Sinha AK, Gupta M,  Krischke M,  Steffan B, Roitsch T and Mueller MJ (2003) Cyclopentenone isoprostanes induced by reactive oxygen species trigger defense gene activation and phytoalexin accumulation in plants. The Plant Journal, 34, 363-375. (Cover article).
Roitsch T, Balibrea ME, Hofmann M, Proels R and Sinha AK (2003) Extracellular invertase: key metabolic enzyme and PR protein. Journal of Experimental Botany 54, 382, 513-24.
Link V, Sinha AK, Vasistha P, Hofmann MG, Proels RK, Ehness R, and Roitsch T (2002). Activation of a MAPK by heat in tomato cell suspension cultures. FEBS Letter 531, 2, 179-183.
Sinha AK, Hofmann M, Romer U, Köckenberger W, Elling L and Roitsch T (2002). Metabolizable and non-metabolizable sugars activate different signal transduction pathways in tomato. Plant Physiology 128, 1480-1489.
Link V, Hofmann M, Sinha AK, Ehness R, Strnad M, and Roitsch, T (2002). Biochemical evidence for the activation of distinct subsets of mitogen-activated protein Kinase by voltage and defence related stimuli. Plant Physiology, 128, 271-281.