C. Jayabaskaran

Department of Biochemistry
Research Areas: 
Secondary metabolites of plant and microbial origin, Endophytic fungal signal-transduction pathway components: Protein kinases and transcription factors.
Research Highlights: 

Research in Prof. Jayabaskaran's lab is being carried out on two key areas of applied biosciences: namely pharmaceutical molecules from plant/cell-culture/microbial systems and signaling components of secondary metabolite synthesis. The major focus of my research group is to increase the contents of Taxol (one of the most celebrated anticancer drugs), tropane alkaloids (mainly scopolamine and hyoscyamine, highly effective anticholinergic drugs) terpenoid indole alkaloids (TIAs; mainly vincristine and vinblastine, antineoplastic drugs at par with taxol in efficacy) and anti-thrombotic drugs in endophytic fungi. So far, our research has been carried out using some of the frontline biotechnologically important organisms like a taxol-producing endophytic fungus Fusarium solani, terpenoid indole alkaloid producing plant Catharanthus roseus and the tropane alkaloid producing plant Datura metel. In principle, these studies are centered on four major research themes viz. (i) Studying the genes involved in the biosynthesis of these compounds; (ii) Investigating the effects of elicitors for yield enhancement in cell culture systems, etc.; (iii) Analyzing the biochemical characterizations of their recombinant biosynthetic enzymes and (iv) Development of transgenic organisms and/or cell culture systems for improving their production by genetic and metabolic engineering approaches. The second area involves cloning, identification, characterization and overexpression of genes of signal transduction involved in secondary metabolite and plant stress-signaling pathways such as protein kinases and transcription factors. Research work is underway to overexpress these genes in two economically important plants; chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) and Datura metel, to improve production of secondary metabolites as well as to develop transgenic chickpea for enhanced tolerance/resistance to abiotic/biotic stresses.

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