Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar

image of Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar



UC Davis Genome Center
Plant Biology

Offices and Labs

1009 Life Sciences

Research Contribution

We are pursuing basic research activities to understand the molecular mechanisms by which plant immune receptors recognize pathogens and initiate innate immune signaling. In addition, we are interested in understanding the role of autophagy in innate immunity and programmed cell death (PCD). Towards these goals, we are taking multiple complementary approaches including new forward and reverse genetic screens, sophisticated biochemical and imaging approaches, and innovative genomics and proteomics approaches.

Research Interests

Host-microbe interactions

NLRs and PRRs function in innate immune signaling

Programmed cell death (PCD)


Immune signaling

Pathogen effector biology

Protein microarrays

Genomics and Proteomics


2010-2011 Semifinalist, HHMI-GBMF Investigator Competition
2002-2003 Junior Faculty Fellowship
2000 Hellman Family Fellowship
1994-1998 Life Science Research Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship
1993 Iowa State University Research Excellence Award
1993 Zaffarano Prize for Publishable Research, Iowa State University
1987 Univ of Agri Sci, Banalore; Gold Medal Award in M.S. Genetics
1987 Univ of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore; Gold Medal Award in M.S. Genetics

Department and Center Affiliations

Plant Biology
Genome Center


American Society of Plant Biology

CBS Grad Group Affiliations

Plant Biology
Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Specialties / Focus

Plant Biology
  • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Genomics
Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation
  • Structural and Mechanistic Biochemistry
  • Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Organelle and Cytoskeleton Dynamics
  • Cell Biology
  • Cellular Responses to Toxins and Stress


10/14/2014 3:52:35 PM
  • Padmanabhan, M., and S.P. Dinesh-Kumar (2014). The conformational and subcellular compartmental dance of plant NLRs during viral recognition and defense signaling. Cutt Op Microbiol. 20:55-61.

  • Woo J, Park E, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2014) Differential processing of Arabidopsis ubiquitin-like Atg8 autophagy proteins by Atg4 cysteine proteases. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 111:863-868.

  • Ma S, Shah S, Bohnert HJ, Snyder M, Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2013) Incorporating motif analysis into gene co-expression networks reveals novel modular expression pattern and new signaling pathways. PLoS Genetics 9(10): e1003840.
  • Padmanabhan M, Ma S, Burch-Smith T, Czymmek K, Huijser P, and Dinesh-Kumar SP (2013) Novel Positive Regulatory Role for the SPL6 Transcription Factor in the N TIR-NB-LRR Receptor-Mediated Plant Innate Immunity. PLoS Pathogens 9(3):e1003235.
  • Ma S, Bachan S, Porto M, Bohnert HJ, Snyder M, Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2012) Discovery of stress responsive DNA regulatory motifs in Arabidopsis. PLoS ONE 7:e43198.
  • Hayward, AP and Dinesh-Kumar, SP (2011) What can Plant Autophagy do for an Innate Immune Response? Annu Rev Phytopathol. 49:557-576
  • Lee, H.Y., Bowen, C.H., Popescu, G.V., Kang, H., Kato, N., Ma, S., Dinesh-Kumar, S.P., Snyder, M., and Popescu, S.C. (2011) Arabidopsis RTNLB1 and RTNLB2 reticulon-like proteins regulate intracellular trafficking and activity of the FLS2 immune receptor. Plant Cell 23:3374-3391.
  • Zhu X, Caplan JC, Mamillapalli P, Czymmek K, and Dinesh-Kumar SP (2010) Function of endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase in innate immunity mediated programmed cell death. EMBO J 29, 1007-1018.
  • Padmanabhan M, and Dinesh-Kumar SP (2010) All Hands on Deck - the Role of Chloroplasts, ER and Nucleus in Driving Plant Innate Immunity. Mol Plant Microbe Interact 23, 1368-1380.
  • Zhu X, Pattathil S, Mazumder K, Brehm A, Hahn M, Dinesh-Kumar SP, and Joshi C. (2010) Virus-induced gene silencing offers a functional genomics platform for studying plant cell wall formation. Mol Plant 3, 818-833. (Cover Article).
  • *Caplan JC, *Zhu X, (contributed equally), Mamillapalli P, Marathe R, Anandalakshmi R, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2009) Induced ER-chaperones regulate a receptor-like kinase to mediate anti-viral innate immune response in plants. Cell Host Microbe 6, 457-469.
  • Popescu SC, Popescu GV, Bachan S, Zhang Z, Gerstein M, Snyder M, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2009) MAPK target networks in Arabidopsis thaliana revealed using functional protein microarrays. Genes Develop 23:80-92.
  • Caplan JC, Mamillapalli P, Burch-Smith TM, Czymmek K, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2008) Chloroplastic protein NRIP1 mediates innate immune receptor recognition of a viral effector. CELL 132:449-462.
  • Caplan JC, Padmanabhan M, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2008) Plant NB-LRR immune receptors: From recognition to transcriptional reprogramming. Cell Host Microbe 3:126-135.
  • Patel S, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2008) Arabidopsis ATG6 is required to limit the pathogen-associated cell death response. Autophagy 4:20-27.
  • Burch-Smith TM, Schiff M, Caplan J, Tsao J, Czymmek K, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2007) A novel role for the TIR domain in association with pathogen-derived elicitors. PLoS Biol 5:e68:501-514.
  • Liu Y, Schiff M, Czymmek K, Talloczy Z, Levine B, Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2005) Autophagy regulates programmed cell death during the plant innate immune response. Cell 121:567-577.


Dinesh-Kumar website
  • Meenu Padmanabhan-Research Specialist; Shisong Ma-Research Specialist; Jongchan Woo-Post-doc; Ugrappa Nagalakshmi-Research Scientist; Neeraj Lal-BMCDB Graduate Student; Parameswari Jayakumar-Visiting Scientist, Sugarcane Research Institute, India; Adriana Bernal-Visiting Professor,Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia; Burinrutt Thanasuwat-Undergraduate Student; Barry Chan-Undergraduate Student; Cody Burr-Undergraduate Student; Janet Tan-Undergraduate Student; Lynh Nguyen-Undergraduate Student; Kingsley Lim-Undergraduate Student

Teaching Interests

Cell Biology
Genomics and Proteomics
Molecular Biology
Host-Microbe Interactions


Cell Biol BIS104 Cell Biology (Spring )
MCB 120L Biochemistry Laboratory (Spring)