Plant Biotechnology

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    Our lab focuses on the metabolic engineering of diverse yeast systems to produce different terpenoids, which are naturally occurring chemicals with great medicinal value. The use of signal lipids in synthetic biology and the metabolic engineering of desired pathways for high metabolic precursor flux are the focus of our research study. In our recent study, we proved the role of signal lipids in mevalonate pathway regulation and its application in the high production of pentacyclic triterpenes in yeast. The use of lipid kinase/s in synthetic biology, particularly in the production of plant-based triterpenes in yeast heterologous systems, is one of our most recent study findings. We identified some novel transcription factors that increase endogenous signaling lipids and consequently trigger the mevalonate/ergosterol pathway. Considering that lipids are important pathway regulators, these transcription factors can be further investigated for the high production of triterpenes. For metabolic engineering research, our lab created a substantial variety of yeast strains, plasmids, and DNA Bio-parts. Additionally, our group is developing a non-conventional yeast system for turning highly dense oils into high-value natural compounds using genetic and fermentation engineering techniques. In addition, we are focussing on the identification and functional characterization of genes involved in secondary metabolism, and understanding the differential expression of metabolic pathways in medicinal & aromatic plants.
  • B.Sc. Botany, Zoology & Chemistry
  • M.Sc. Microbiology
  • Ph.D. Microbiology
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Dept. of Biochemistry - Senior research fellow (August 2007- December 2007 )
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Dept. of Biochemistry - Research Associate (December 2007- February 2008 )
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Dept. of Biochemistry - Post-Doctoral Fellow (February 2008- July 2009 )
  • CSIR-CIMAP research centre, Bengaluru, - Scientist Fellow (August 2009- April 2012 )
  • CSIR-CIMAP, Bengaluru, - Senior scientist (2012- 2018 )
  • CSIR-CIMAP, Bengaluru, - Principal Scientist (2018- till date )
  • Ranganathan PR, Narayanan AK, Nawada N, Rao MJ, Reju KS, Priya S C, Gujarathi T, Manjithaya R, DK Venkata Rao . Diacylglycerol kinase alleviates autophagic degradation of the endoplasmic reticulum in SPT10-deficient yeast to enhance triterpene biosynthesis. FEBS letters 2022
  • Reju KS, Priya CS, Manjithaya R, Venkata Rao DK . Role of diacylglycerol kinase in autophagy, ER biogenesis, and triterpene metabolism. Autophagy Reports 2022
  • Ranganathan PR, Nawada N, Narayanan AK, Rao DKV . Triglyceride deficiency and diacylglycerol kinase1 activity lead to the upregulation of mevalonate pathway in yeast: A study for the development of potential yeast platform for improved production of triterpenoid. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids 2020
  • Kushwaha RK, Singh S, Pandey SS, DK Rao, Nagegowda DA, Kalra A, Vivek Babu CS. Compatibility of Inherent Fungal Endophytes of Withania somnifera with Trichoderma viride and its Impact on Plant Growth and Withanolide Content. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation 2019
  • Jalaja R, Leela SG, Valmiki PK, Salfeena CTF, Ashitha KT, Krishna Rao Venkata Rao D, Nair MS, Gopalan RK, Somappa SB. Discovery of Natural Product Derived Labdane Appended Triazoles as Potent Pancreatic Lipase Inhibitors. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2018
  • Meena S, Kumar SR, Venkata Rao DK, Dwivedi V, Shilpashree HB, Rastogi S, Shasany AK, Nagegowda DA . De Novo Sequencing and Analysis of Lemongrass Transcriptome Provide First Insights into the Essential Oil Biosynthesis of Aromatic Grasses. Frontiers in Plant Science 2016

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