Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar

image of Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar



Genome Center
Plant Biology

Offices and Labs

116A Briggs Hall
116 Briggs hall


1994 Ph D Mol Cellular Dev Biol Iowa State University

Research Contribution

We are pursuing basic research activities to understand the molecular mechanisms by which plant immune receptors recognize pathogens and initiate 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 forward and reverse genetic approaches, sophisticated biochemical and imaging approaches, and innovative genomics and proteomics approaches.

Research Interests

Host-microbe interactions


NLRs and PRRs function in innate immune signaling

Inter-organellar communications

Programmed cell death (PCD)


Virus-host interactions




2015-2016 Faculty Research Award, College of Biological Sciences, UC Davis
2010-2011 Semifinalist, HHMI-GBMF Investigator Competition
2002-2003 Junior Faculty Fellowship
2000 Hellman Family Fellowship

Department and Center Affiliations

Plant Biology
Genome Center


American Society of Plant Biology
American Phytopathological Society

CBS Grad Group Affiliations

Plant Biology
Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology


Dinesh-Kumar website
  • Ugrappa Nagalakshmi-Research Scientist
  • Neeraj Lal-BMCDB Graduate Student
  • Isaiah Mohr - PBGG Graduate Student
  • Yongliang Zhang-Visiting Professor, China Agriculture University
  • Xu Tengzhi-Visiting PhD Student-China Agriculture University
  • Pengfei Chen-Visiting Graduate Student, Nanjing Agric. University
  • Pin-Jui Huang-Junior Specialist
  • Lynh Nguyen-Undergraduate Student
  • Alexander Nagourney-Undergraduate Student
  • Dean Paz-Undergraduate Student
  • Gita Mallya-Undergraduate Student
  • Nathan Ryan Sanjaya - Undergraduate Student
  • Ronni Ponek - Undergraduate Student
  • Vicki Li - Undergraduate Student
  • My Huyen Nguyen-Undergraduate Student

Teaching Interests

Host-Microbe Interactions
Cell Biology
Molecular Biology


PLP 210 Biochemistry & Mol Biology of Plant-Microbe interactions (Winter - Guest Lecture)
GGG 210A Advanced Genetic Analysis (Fall - Guest Lecture)
BIS 104 Cell Biology (Fall)
MCB 120L Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Laboratory (Fall)


  • Ma, S., Snyder, M., and Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. (2017) Discovery of novel human gene regulatory modules from gene co-expression and promoter motif analysis. Sci Rep 7(1):5557.

  • Park, E., Lee, H-Y., Woo, J., Choi, D., and Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. (2017) Spatiotemporal monitoring of Pseudomonas effectors via type III secretion using split fluorescent protein fragments. The Plant Cell (Epub ahead of print) doi: 10.1105/tpc.17.00047

  • Seo, E., Woo, J., Park, E., Bertolani, S., Siegel, J., Choi, D., and Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. (2016) Comparative analyses of ubiquitin-like ATG8 and cysteine protease ATG4 autophagy genes in the plant lineage and cross-kingdom processing of ATG8 by ATG4. Autophagy 12:2054-2068.

  • Fondong, V., Nagalakshmi, U., and Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. (2016) Novel functional genomics approaches: A priming future in the combat against plant viruses. Phytopathology 106:1231-1239.

  • Caplan, J., Kumar, AS., Park, E., Padmanabhan, M., Hoban, K., Modla, S., Czymmek, K., and Dinesh-Kumar, SP. (2015). Chloroplast stromules function during innate immunity. Dev Cell 34:45-57. (Cover Article).

    See Preview: Gu, Y and Dong, X (2015)Stromules: Signal Conduits for Plant Immunity. Dev Cell 34: 3-4.

    Editor's choice: VanHook A (2015) Immunity pipelines. Sci. Signal 8:ec191.

  • Ali, Z., Abul-Faraj, A., Li, L., Ghosh, N., Piatek, M., Mahjoub, A., Aouida, M., Piatek, A., Baltes, N., Voytas, D., Dinesh-Kumar, S.P., Mahfouz, M. (2015) Efficient virus-mediated genome editing in plants using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Mol Plant S1674-2052(15)00162-8.

  • 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.

  • 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, 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.

  • Hayward, AP and Dinesh-Kumar, SP (2011) What can Plant Autophagy do for an Innate Immune Response? Annu Rev Phytopathol. 49:557-576

  • 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.

  • *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 Dev 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.

  • 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.