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Picture of Savithramma P Dinesh-Kumar


Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar


Plant Biology
UC Davis Genome Center


1009 Life Sciences

Research Contribution to Society:

My laboratory is aggressively 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-pathogen interactions; Programmed cell death; Autophagy; 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

Professional Societies:

American Society of Plant Biology

CBS Graduate Group Affiliations:

Plant Biology  
Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology  

Specialties / Focus:

Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Plant Biology
Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Genomics


Last updated 1/23/2014
Woo J, Park E, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2013) 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.

*Burch-Smith TM, *Schiff M, *Liu Y, (*contributed equally) and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2006) Efficient virus induced gene silencing in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol 142:21-27.

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.

Laboratory Personnel:

Meenu Padmanabhan - Post-doc
Shisong Ma - Post-doc
Jongchan Woo - Post-doc
Duseok Choi - Post-doc
Ugrappa Nagalakshmi - Staff Scientist
Neeraj Lal - BMCDB Graduate Student
Eunyoung Seo - Visiting Graduate Student - Seoul Natl Univ
Smit Shah - Junior Specialist
Wan-Ling Ang - Junior Specialist
Kingsley Lim - Undergraduate student

Teaching Interests:

Cell Biology http://
Genomics and Proteomics http://
Molecular Biology http://
Host-Microbe Interactions http://


Cell Biol BIS104 Cell Biology Spring
Genomics BIS180L Genomics Laboratory Spring
MCB 120L Biochemistry Laboratory Spring

Key Words:

Host-microbe interactions; autophagy; programmed cell death; chloroplast; protein microarrays; microscopy; resistance genes