Paramjit Khurana

Professor (Superannuated)


Specialization: Plant Biotechnology and Genomics
Highlights of Research Work: 

Our work revolves around understanding the processes of Plant Embryogenesis and Heat Stress Tolerance in Wheat, and Mulberry Genomics, gene function identification, and allele mining for abiotic stress tolerance.

  1. To understand the molecular basis of embryogenesis, the Somatic Embryogenesis Receptor Kinase(SERK), has been investigated in wheat.  The ectopic expression of TaSERKs in Arabidopsis leads to enhanced plant height, larger silique size, and increased seed yield.  Five TaSERKs have been functionally characterized by various approaches and their interacting partners determined in wheat. TaBRI1 interacts with the members of the wheat TaSERKs gene family at the plasma membrane. Overexpression of TaBRI1 leads to the early flowering, increased silique size, and seed yield as compared to the wild-type. 
  2. Wheat transcriptomics associated with heat stress were undertaken by suppression subtractive hybridization. Some of the heat stress-related genes chosen for a detailed characterization are the TaHSF, TaZnF, TabZIP, TaHSP26, TaLTP1 & 2 and TaMIPS2, etc.  The real-time analysis revealed HSF to be induced by calcium, salt, ABA, PEG and heat stress, particularly in various flower and seed tissues. TaHSF could possibly have a role in salt stress and drought stress. Wheat HSP26, was highly inducible by heat stress and functions during both seed maturation as well as response towards high temperature stress. TaMIPS2 is expressed during different developing seed stages upon heat stress. MIPS is crucial for heat stress recovery and flower development. The wild relatives of wheat, i.e. Aegelops taushii and Ae. speltoides, are also being utilized for functional characterization of heat stress associated genes and proteins and for undertaking comparative genomics and allele mining in the Triticeae. 

The largest transcriptomic data on mulberry for various tissues and various abiotic stresses has been contributed by our lab. Comparative transcriptomic studies undertaken from mulberry tissues exposed to a variety of abiotic stress conditions revealed overlapping and specific patterns of transcript expression. Some novel genes that have been functionally characterized from mulberry ESTs are the Remorins, Membrane Intrinsic Proteins (MIPs), ERDs (early responsive genes), members of the lectin gene superfamily, and NAC and WRKY transcription factors. Similarly, Auxin Response Factors (ARFs) are at the core of the regulation mechanism for auxin-mediated responses along with Aux/IAA and critical in auxin-mediated control of various biological responses including development and stress.

List of important research publications


  1. AGARWAL, P., BARANWAL VK., KHURANA, P. 2019. Genome-wide analysis of bZIP transcription factors in wheat and functional characterization of a TabZIP under abiotic stress. Scientific Reports (
  2. AGARWAL, P., KHURANA, P. 2019. Functional Characterization of hsfs from wheat in response to heat and other abiotic stress conditions. Func. Int. Genomics (
  3. INTERNATIONAL WHEAT GENOME SEQUENCING CONSORTIUM (IWGSC) 2018. Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome. Science 361:661-674.
  4. BARANWAL, VK.,  NEGI, N., KHURANA, P. 2017. Auxin Response Factor Genes Repertoire in Mulberry: Identification, and Structural, Functional and Evolutionary Analyses. Genes (MDPI) 8, 202; (doi:10.3390/genes8090202).
  5. SINGH A., KHURANA P, 2017. Ectopic expression of Triticum aestivum SERK genes (TaSERKs) control plant growth and development in Arabidopsis. Scientific Reports 7(1): 12368.(doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10038-1)
  6. SAEED, B., BARANWAL VK., KHURANA P. 2016. Comparative transcriptomics and comprehensive marker resource development in mulberry. BMC Genomics 17(1). DOI:10.1186/s12864-016-2417-8
  7. CHAUHAN, H., KHURANA, N., TYAGI, A.K., KHURANA, J.P., KHURANA, P.2011. Identification and characterization of high temperature stress responsive genes in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and their regulation at various stages of development. Plant Molecular Biology 75: 35-51.
  8. CHAUHAN, H., KHURANA, P.2011. Development of drought tolerant transgenic doubled haploid in wheat through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Plant Biotech. J. 9: 408-417.
  9. DAS, M., CHAUHAN, H., CHHIBBAR, A., HAQ, Q.M.R., KHURANA, P.2010. High-efficiency transformation and selective tolerance against biotic and abiotic stress in mulberry, Morus indica cv. K2, by constitutive and inducible expression of tobacco osmotin.. Transgenic Research 20: 231-246.
  10. SINGLA, B., TYAGI, A.K., KHURANA J.P., KHURANA, P. 2007.  Gene expression profile during somatic embryogenesis in wheat (Triticum aestivum) leaf base system. Plant Mol. Biology 65: 677-692.
  11. RAVI, V., KHURANA , J.P., TYAGI, A.K., KHURANA, P. 2006.  Rosales sister to Fabales: towards resolving the rosid puzzle. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 44: 488-493.
  12. RAVI, V., KHURANA, J.P., TYAGI, A.K., KHURANA, P. 2006.  The chloroplast genome of mulberry (Morus indica cv. K2): complete nucleotide sequence, gene organization and comparative analysis. Tree Genetics & Genomes 3: 49-59
  13. INTERNATIONAL RICE GENOME SEQUENCING PROJECT, 2005.  The map-based sequence of the rice genome.  Nature 436: 793-800
  14. PATNAIK, D., KHURANA, P. 2003. Genetic transformation of Indian bread (T. aestivum) and pasta (T. durum) wheat by particle bombardment of mature embryo-derived calli. BMC Plant Biology 3: 5-16
  15. GHARYAL, P.K., HO, S.C., WANG, J.L., SCHINDLER, M. 1989. Bradyrhizobium japonicum lipopolysaccharide inhibits symplastic communication in soybean (Glycine max) cells. J. Biol. Chem. 264: 12119-12121.