Indranil Dasgupta

Professor (Superannuated)

Specialization:  Molecular biology of plant viruses and plant-virus interactions

Research Interests:

Plant viruses have historically attracted the attention of researchers because of the diseases they cause in plants and the role they play in determining crop yields in most regions of the tropics. More recently, plant viruses have emerged as models to understand intracellular trafficking and tools to develop gene expression and gene silencing platforms. Plant viral genomes, because of their small size are interesting cases of rapid adaptation and co-evolution with their hosts under changing agricultural scenario. Genes encoded by plant viruses often are masters of multi-tasking and their interactions with their host defence systems are broadening our understanding of their evolution. With these broad perspectives in mind, our group has been active in studying plant viruses. 

Transgenic virus resistance: Working with viruses causing the tungro disease of rice, our group has developed transgenic rice plants showing resistance against Indian isolates of Rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV) and Rice tungro spherical virus (RTSV), using RNAi technology. The above resistance has now been diversified to several rice varieties popular in the eastern and southern regions of our country by marker-assisted backcross breeding, in collaboration with scientists in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.  Working with the highly infectious Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus, a virus rapidly spreading to new regions of the World and to new plant hosts, we have developed a novel form of resistance, based on trans-acting siRNAs.

Viral variability:Although rice tungro viruses have been reported from the entire South and South-east Asian region, our group has shown RTBV to be more variable than RTSV. Working with viruses infecting cassava, citrus, mentha and okra (bhendi), our group has revealed new information on their variability and genetic relationship with similar viruses in India and abroad. We have developed infectious clones of viruses infecting cassava (Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus, SLCMV), which is being used to investigate its gene functions and interactions with the host plants. We have also looked at the role of whitefly vectors in transmission of SLCMV and the importance of amino acid residues of the viral coat protein in determining the symptoms.

Viral promoters:We found new and interesting gene expression control elements embedded in the promoter of an Indian isolate of RTBV. We went on to show their functional significance in controlling heterologous gene expression. This has led to an international patent on its use (US Patent no. 07728122, Eurasian patent no. 013229) awarded jointly to Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and University of Delhi for its use. The promoter has been commercialized with the help of Biotech Consortium India Limited. Subsequently, we have also shown the existence of negative control elements in the RTBV promoter.

VIGS:To use viruses as tools for gene silencing, we have developed RTBV into a VIGS vector and demonstrated its effectiveness in silencing genes of rice, with a view to strengthen functional genomic initiatives for monocots. This has been awarded an Indian patent (No. 278167). 

Select Publications
  • Kumar, G., Jyothsna, M., Valarmathi, P., Roy, S., Banerjee, A., Tarafdar, J., Senapati, B. K., Robin, S., Manonmani, S., Rabindran, R. and Dasgupta, I. (2019) Assessment of resistance to rice tungro disease in popular rice varieties in India by introgression of a transgene against Rice tungro bacilliform virus. Archives of Virology 164:1005-1013.
  • Zarreen, F., Kumar, G., Johnson, A. M. A. and Dasgupta, I. (2018) Small RNA-based interactions between rice and the viruses causing the tungro disease. Virology523: 64-73 
  • Sharma, S., Kumar, G. and Dasgupta, I. (2018) Simultaneous resistance against the two viruses causing the rice tungro disease using RNA interference. Virus Research255: 157-164
  • Kant, R. and Dasgupta, I. (2017) Phenotyping of VIGS-mediated gene silencing in rice using a vector derived from a DNA virus. Plant Cell Reports 36: 1159-1170. 
  • Borah, B.K., Zarreen, F., Baruah, G. and Dasgupta, I. (2016) Insights into the control of geminiviral promoters. Virology 495: 101-111.
  • Kelkar, V., Kushawaha, A.K. and Dasgupta, I. (2016) Identification of amino acid residues of the coat protein of Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus affecting symptom production and viral titer in Nicotiana benthamiana. Virus Research 217: 38-46.
  • Singh, A., Saraf, S., Dasgupta, I. and Mukherjee, S.K. (2016) Identification and validation of a virus-inducible tasi-RNA-generating TAS4 locus in tomato. Journal of Biosciences 41(1): 109-118.  
  • Rishishwar, R., Mazumdar, B. and Dasgupta, I. (2015) Diverse and recombinant begomoviruses and various satellites are associated with Bhendi yellow vein mosaic disease of okra in India. Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology 24: 470-475.
  • Kushawaha, A.K., Rabindran, R. and Dasgupta, I. (2015) Phylogentic analysis and biolistic infectivity of cloned Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus DNA-A from Tamil Nadu, India on Nicotiana benthamiana. Acta Virologica 59 (1): 57-63.
  • Singh, A., Taneja, J., Dasgupta, I. and Mukherjee, S.K.(2014) Development of plants resistant to tomato geminiviruses using artificial trans-acting small interfering RNA. Molecular Plant Pathology 16(7): 725-734. 
  • Johnson, A.M.A., Dasgupta, I. and Sai Gopal, D.V.R. (2014) Development of Loop-mediated isothermal amplification and SYBR Green Real time PCR methods for the detection of Citrus yellow mosaic badnavirus in citrus. Journal of Virological Methods 203: 9-14.
  • Borah, B.K., Sharma, S., Kant, R., Johnson, A.M.A., Saigopal, D.V.R. and Dasgupta, I. (2013) Bacilliform DNA-containing plant viruses in the tropics: commonalities within a genetically diverse group. Molecular Plant Pathology 14(8): 759-771.
  • Purkayastha, A., Sharma, S. and Dasgupta, I. (2013) Virus-induced gene silencing for rice using agroinoculation: Methods in Molecular Biology 975: 33-45, In: Virus-Induced Gene Silencing, Methods and Protocols, Ed: Becker, A.,Springer Science + Business Media, LLC, Humana Press, New York.
  • Mathur, S. and Dasgupta, I. (2013) Further support of genetic conservation in Indian isolates ofRicetungro bacilliform virusby sequence analysis of an isolatefrom North–Western India. Virus Genes 46: 387-391.
  • Borah, B. K. and Dasgupta, I. (2012b) Begomovirus research in India: A critical appraisal and the way ahead. Journal of Biosciences 37: 791-806.
  • Sharma, S. and Dasgupta, I. (2012) Development of SYBR Green I based real time PCR assays for quantitative detection of Rice tungro bacilliform virus and Rice tungro spherical virus. Journal of Virological Methods 181: 86-92.
  • Roy, S, Banerjee, A, Tarafdar, J, Senapati, BK and Dasgupta, I. (2012) Transfer of transgenes for resistance to rice tungro disease into high yielding rice cultivars through gene based marker-assisted selection. The Journal of Agricultural Science 150: 610-618.
  • Sharma, S, Rabindran, R, Robin, S and Dasgupta, I. (2011) Analysis of the complete sequence of rice tungro bacilliform virus from southern India indicates it to be a product of recombination. Archives of Virology 156: 2257-2262.
  • Borah, BK, Cheema, GS, Gill, CK and Dasgupta, I. (2011) A geminivirus-satellite complex is associated with Leaf deformity of Mentha (mint) plants in Punjab. Indian Journal of Virology 21(2): 103-109. 
  • Purkayastha, A, Sharma, S and Dasgupta, I. (2010) A negative element in the downstream region of the Rice tungro bacilliform virus promoter is orientation- and position-independent and is active with heterologous promoters. Virus Research 153: 166-171. 
  • Purkayastha, A, Mathur, S, Verma, V, Sharma, S and Dasgupta, I. (2010) Virus-induced gene silencing in rice using a vector derived from a DNA virus. Planta 232: 1531-1540. 
  • Borah, BK, Johnson, AMA, Sai Gopal, DVR and Dasgupta, I (2009) Sequencing and computational analysis of complete genomesequences ofCitrus yellow mosaic badnavirusfrom acid limeand pummelo. Virus Genes 39: 137-140. 
  • Mittal, D, Borah, BK and Dasgupta, I. (2008) Agroinfection of cloned Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus DNA to Arabidopsis thaliana,Nicotiana tabacumand cassava. Archives of Virology153: 2149-2155.
  • Tyagi, H, Rajasubramaniam, S., Rajam, MV and Dasgupta, I. (2008) RNA-interference in rice against Rice tungro bacilliform virus results in its decreased accumulation in inoculated rice plants. Transgenic Research 17:897-904.