National Institute of Plant Genome Research
Digital India   Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav     
    Dr. Senthil-Kumar Muthappa
    Tel: 91-11-26741612,14,17 Ext. - 229
    Direct - 26735229, Fax: 91-11-26741658
Staff scientist: NIPGR, New Delhi (June 2013 onwards)
Post-Doctoral Fellow: Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, Oklahoma, USA (Jan 2007 to June 2013)
Research Associate: University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (June 2006 to Jan 2007)
 Fellowships and Awards
Fellow, National Academy of Sciences India (NASI), 2022
Fellow, Indian Society for Plant Physiology (FISPP), New Delhi, India (2021)
J.C. Bose Gold Medal Award (2020) of Indian Society for Plant Physiology
Member, National Academy of Sciences India (NASI), 2020
Fellow, The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), India (2020)
DBT Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award – 2015
NAAS Associateship, The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), India (2015)
Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship, Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi.
Ramanujan Fellowship, Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi [fellowship not availed].
 Research Interests
Stress interaction and combined stresses in plants

Due to changing climatic factors, plants are expected to combat the unique combination of stresses. Plants simultaneously exposed to a combination of stresses (for example, drought and pathogens) are expected to employ altogether a different &tailored response for combating them compared to those independently exposed to individual stresses. Such unique adaptive strategy used by plants is an exciting area of research.

Our lab uses Arabidopsis thaliana as model plant and attempts to capture the unique genes involved in disease resistance of these plants against Pseudomonas syringae pathovars (host & nonhost pathogens) under drought stress. Also, we study the interaction of moisture stress with fungal pathogen infection in chickpea and Ralstonia solanacearum infection in tomato plants. We employ virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) tool to investigate the functional relevance of candidate genes.

Findings from this project will enable understanding not only the nature of stress interaction, but also the specific defense responses of combined stressed plants against pathogens.
Nonhost resistance of plants against pathogens

Plants are regularly exposed to wide variety of disease-causing pathogens in their environment. Plants have evolved various defense mechanisms, both active and passive to combat pathogen attack. R-gene mediated defense limits the host range of a pathogen to the member of a single species and is often overcome by the pathogen. In contrast, nonhost resistance is a response to all races of a particular pathogen and occurs in all cultivars of a nonhost plant species. We are particularly interested in understanding nonhost resistance of model plant A. thaliana against few bacterial pathogens that cause disease in crop plants (for example, tomato, and beans). Our lab also has a specific interest in identifying the nonhost plants of Begomoviruses and understanding the resistance mechanism operating in such nonhost plants against the viruses.
Interested in joining the lab?

Motivated young researchers who would like to join the lab to work on prediction of the occurrence and impact of stress combinations [drought-pathogen stress interaction] by employing simulation and crop modelling related tools are welcome to contact the PI. Researchers with strong statistical, geoinformatics and bioinformatics skills can apply through DBT-BIOCARE or INSPIRE or CSIR senior RA or DST women scientist or DBT-RA or open lab positions.
  Group Members
Stress Combinations and their Interactions in Plants (SCIP) Database -
VIGS database -
pssRNAit: Designing Effective and Specific Plant RNAi siRNAs with Genome-wide Off-target Gene Assessment -
 Selected Publications
Research articles
Priya, P., Patil, M., Pandey, P., Singh, A., Babu, V.S. and Senthil-Kumar, M., 2023. Stress combinations and their interactions in plants database: a one-stop resource on combined stress responses in plants. The Plant Journal, 116(4), pp.1097-1117.
Chilakala, A.R., Pandey, P., Durgadevi, A., Kandpal, M., Patil, B.S., Rangappa, K., Reddy, P.C.O., Ramegowda, V. and Senthil Kumar, M., 2023. Drought attenuates plant responses to multiple rhizospheric pathogens: A study on a dry root rot-associated Disease complex in chickpea fields. Field Crops Research, 298, p.108965.
Choudhary A and Senthil-Kumar M (2022) Drought attenuates plant defence against bacter ial pathogens by suppressing the expression of CBP60g/SARD1 during combined stress. Plant Cell & Environment 45(4):1127-1145.
Irulappan V, Kandpal M, Saini K, Rai A, Ranjan A, Sinharoy S, Senthil-Kumar M (2022) Drought stress exacerbates fungal colonization and endodermal invasion and dampens defense responses to increase dry root rot in chickpea. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions,
Fatima U, Bhorali P, Senthil-Kumar M (2019) Morpho-pathological and global transcriptomic analysis reveals the robust nonhost resistance responses in chickpea interaction with Alternaria brassicae. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Senthil-Kumar, M., Mysore, K. Tobacco rattle virus-based virus-induced gene silencing in Nicotiana benthamiana. Nature Protocol 9, 1549-1562 (2014).
Rojas CM, Senthil-Kumar M, Wang K, Ryu CM, Kaundal A and Mysore KS (2012) Glycolate oxidase plays a major role during nonhost resistance responses by modulating reactive oxygen species mediated signal transduction pathways. The Plant Cell 24(1): 336-52.
Keri Wang#, Senthil-Kumar M#, Choong-Min Ryu, Li Kang and Mysore KS (2012) Phytosterols play a key role in plant innate immunity against bacterial pathogens by regulating nutrient efflux into the apoplast. Plant Physiology 158(4): 1789-802. #equal contribution.
Senthil-Kumar M and Mysore KS (2012) d-ornithine aminotransferase and proline dehydrogenase genes play a role in nonhost disease resistance by regulating pyrroline-5-carboxylate metabolism-induced hypersensitive response. Plant Cell and Environment 35(7): 1329-43.
Review articles
Choudhary, A. and Senthil-Kumar, M., 2024. Drought: A context-dependent damper and aggravator of plant diseases. Plant, Cell & Environment.
Pandey, P., Patil, M., Priya, P. and Senthil-Kumar, M., 2024. When two negatives make a positive: the favorable impact of the combination of abiotic stress and pathogen infection on plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, 75(3), pp.674-688.
Fatima, U., Anjali, A. and Senthil-Kumar, M., 2022. AtSWEET11 and AtSWEET12: The twin traders of sucrose. Trends in Plant Science, 27(10), pp.958-960.
Rai, A., Irulappan, V. and Senthil-Kumar, M., 2022. Dry root rot of chickpea: a disease favored by drought. Plant Disease, 106(2), pp.346-356.
Senthil-Kumar M and Mysore KS (2013) Nonhost resistance against bacterial pathogens - retrospects and prospects. Annual Review of Phytopathology 51: 19.1-19.21.
Senthil-Kumar M and Mysore KS (2011) New dimensions of using VIGS for plant functional genomics. Trends in Plant Science 16(12): 656-665.
 Research covered in news media
Research Matters press release (23/Mar/2020): Chickpea’s trick can help mustard fight fungi
MPMI editor’s pick (12/Nov/2019): Morpho-Pathological and Global Transcriptomic Analysis Reveals the Robust Nonhost Resistance Responses in Chickpea Interaction with Alternaria brassicae
American Phytopathological Society a press release (29/Jan/2020): Can chickpea genes save mustard seeds from blight disease?
The Hindu BusinessLine story (9/Feb/2020): Fighting fungal pest: Chickpea could give mustard a tip or two
Press release IS-MPMI InterConnections on student achievements (12/Mar/2020): Student project reveals a strategy for managing Alternaria blight through nonhost resistance