Scientist Profile

Dr Ajay Kumar Pandey

Dr Ajay Kumar Pandey

Scientist F

Date of Joining: 14 Nov 2011

+91 172 522 1124

Plant Molecular Biology, Functional Genomics, Phytic acid biology in plants.

  1. Post Doctoral Research Fellow (Oct 2008-Oct 2011): Department of Plant Pathology, 351 Bessey Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA. (Physical Address): Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Ft Detrick (Army Base), Frederick, Maryland, USA. Herein, we utilized virus induced gene silencing (VIGS) on resistant cultivars of soybean plants (Rpp1 and Rpp2) to decipher the defense pathways network against the rust disease caused by Phakopsora species.
  2. Post Doctoral Fellow (Sep 2004-Oct 2008): Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL-35899. USA. We studied the genetic determinants for the cold stress and its persistent pathogenicity in B. cinerea. Minor projects include development of functional genomics in ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria bicolor.
  3. Post Doctoral Fellow (July 2003-Sept 2004): Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. We focused on understanding the mechanisms of disease resistance manifested by transgenic HRAP Arabidospsis and the role of bacterial elicitor harpin.
  • Phytic acid (IP6) beside been a storage form of phosphorus in cereal grains is also a well know seed anti-nutrient. The chelating properties of PA in seeds contribute to reduced iron and other micronutrients bioavailability. In plants, the ability of phytic acid to chelate some important micronutrients including iron has led to the designing of the strategy to target the biosynthesis pathway of IP6 in different crops. The areas of the inositol phosphate and phytic acid biology in wheat remain largely elusive and unexplored. Our group identified wheat PA pathway genes and subsequently the gene function was validated using yeast mutants. In total, seven genes for wheat PA biosynthesis pathway were identified and subsequently their expression was studied in different tissues and in presence of exogenous hormones.
  • In addition, we also raised wheat transgenic targeted for gene silencing of TaABCC13, that is a putative transporter of PA. Multiple lines of wheat transgenic were raised and were subjected to molecular and biochemical analysis. Lowering of PA (28-32%) in grains was achieved. Silenced wheat plants also showed phenotypic changes in the formation of lateral root and its sensitivity towards the heavy metal like cadmium.
  • We are also deciphering the role of other transporter either involved in phosphate remobilization or translocation. In this direction, 23 wheat phosphate transporters (PHTs) were identified encompassing all the subfamily of these transporters. Subsequently, we have identified seed specific phosphate transporters and currently we are utilizing genome editing tools so as to control the flux of phosphate (substrate for PA) in cereal grains. We also demonstrated that phosphate and PA accumulation are linked at the molecular level in the developing grains of wheat.

Project I: Metabolic engineering of phytic acid pathway for improving iron bioavailability in wheat:
The deficiency of micronutrients remains an enormous global problem in developing countries. Phytic acid (myo-inositol-1,2,3,4,5,6- hexakisphosphate; PA; InsP6) beside been a storage form of phosphorus in seed is also a well know seed anti-nutrient. The chelating properties of PA in seeds contribute to reduced iron and other micronutrients bioavailability. To improve the value of seed crops, considerable effort has been made in recent years with limited success to modify seed iron content via genetic engineering or by conventional breeding. One of my current research interest deals with the utilization of functional genomics tools to address the role of phytic acid synthesis pathway genes. The goal is to reduce the total PA content in wheat grains and therefore increasing bioavailability of iron. Role of higher forms of PA are also been explored in cereal grains in anticipation of its role in phosphate-PA homeostasis. We are utilizing genome editing based techniques to generate wheat germplasm resources for the specific trait.

Project II: Role of transporters involved in phosphate and iron homeostasis:
In an attempt to modulate the total PA content in seeds, new approaches are been explored. One of the ways to control the accumulation of PA is by targeting the transport of phosphorus (P) in the filial tissue i.e. developing grains. Identifying the specific role of phosphate transporters (PHT) and studying its impact on total seed P levels would be an important work to improve the efficient utilization of P supply. Although, the Pi uptake was predominantly studied by addressing role of PHT subfamily genes, but there are very limited studies indicating any role of such transporters for inorganic phosphate (Pi) remobilization in seeds. This work will address and identifies the tissue specific key molecular players involved for Pi loading in grains. Simultaneously, loading of iron will be explored by studying certain transporters that are involved in micro-nutrient remobilization. Interplay, between Fe- and Pi-transporter will also be explored in developing grains.

  1. Ram H, Singh A, Katoch M, Kaur R, Sardar S, Palia S, Satyam R, Sonah H, Deshmukh R, Pandey AK, Gupta I, and Sharma TR (2021). Dissecting the nutrient partitioning mechanism in rice grain using spatially resolved gene expression profiling. Journal of Experimental Botany (

  2. Reddy MS, Thakur B, Mukherjee A, Pandey AK, Marmeisse R and Fraissinet-Tachet L (2021). Multi-metal tolerance of DHHC palmitoyl transferase-like protein isolated from metal contaminated soil. Ecotoxicology (

  3. Ram H, Gandass N, Sharma A, Singh A, Sonah H, Deshmukh R, Pandey AK and Sharma TR (2020). Spatio-temporal distribution of micronutrients in rice grains and its regulation. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. 40(4):490-507.

  4. Kaur K, Alok A, Shivani, Kumar P, Kaur N, Awasthi P, Chaturvedi S, Pandey P, Pandey A, Pandey AK and Tiwari S (2020). CRISPR/Cas9 directed editing of lycopene epsilon-cyclase modulates metabolic flux for β-carotene biosynthesis in banana fruit. Metabolic Engineering, 59,76-86.

  5. Sharma S, Kaur G, Kumar A, Ram, H, Kaur J and Pandey AK (2020). Gene expression pattern of vacuolar-iron transporter-like (VTL) genes in hexaploid wheat during metal stress. Plants (MDPI) 9(2), 229.  

  6. View All Publication
  7. Kaur G, Shukla V, Kumar A, Kaur M, Goel P, Singh P, Shukla A, Meena V, Kaur J, Singh J, Mantri S, Rouached H and Pandey AK (2019). Integrative analysis of hexaploid wheat roots identifies signature components during iron starvation. Journal of Experimental Botany. erz35

  8. Basu A, Upadhyaya HD, Srivastava R, Daware A, Malik N, Sharma A, Bajaj D, Narnoliya L, Thakro V, Kujur A, Triphati S, Bhardwaj C, Hegde VS, Pandey AK, Singh, AK, Tyagi AK, Parida SK (2018). ABC transporter-mediated transport of glutathione conjugates enhances seed yield and quality in chickpea. Plant Physiology.  (Accepted: in press)

  9. Pandey, A.K., Reddy, M.S. and Suryanarayan, T.S. (2003) ITS-RFLP and ITS sequence analysis of foliar endophytic fungus Phyllosticta from different tropical trees in India. Mycological Research 107(4): 439-444

  10. Reddy, M.S., Pandey, A.K., Melayah, D., Marmeisse, R. and Gay, G. (2003) The auxin responsive gene Pp-C61 is up-regulated in Pinus pinaster roots following inoculation with ectomycorrhizal fungi. Plant Cell and Environment 26 (5): 681-691.

  11. Huang, H.En., Ger, M.J., Yip, M.K., Chen, C Y., Pandey, A.K. and Feng, T.Y. (2004) A hypersensitive response was induced by virulent bacteria in transgenic tobacco plants overexpressing a plant ferredoxin-like protein (PFLP). Physiology and Molecular Plant Pathology 64:2, 103-110

  12. Pandey, A.K., Ger, M.J., Huang, H En., Yip, M.K., Lin, M.K., Zeng, J and Feng, T.Y. (2005) Expression of the hypersensitive response-assisting protein in Arabidopsis results in harpin dependent hypersensitive cell death in response to Erwinia carotovora. Plant Molecular Biology 59:771-780

  13. Reddy, M.S., Hitchin, S., Melayah, D., Pandey, A.K., Raffier, C., Henderson, J., Marmeisse, R and Gay, G. (2006) The auxin-inducible GH3 homologue Pp-GH3.16 is down-regulated in Pinus pinaster root systems upon ectomycorrhizal symbiosis establishment: New Phytologist Volume 170(2):391-400

  14. Huang, H En., Ger, M.J., Ying, C.C., Pandey, A.K., Yip, M. K., Lin, M.K., Chou, H.K. and Feng, T. Y. (2007) Disease resistance to bacterial pathogens affected by the amount of ferredoxin-I protein in plants. Molecular Plant Pathology 8:129-137

  15. Cseke, L.J., Ravinder, N., Pandey, A.K., and Podila, G.K. (2007) Identification of PTM5 protein interaction partners, a MADS-box gene involved in aspen tree vegetative development. GENE 391: 209-222

  16. Pandey, A.K., Jain, P., Podila, G.K. Tudzynski, B and Davis, M.R. (2009) Cold induced Botrytis cinerea enolase (BcEnol-1) functions as a transcriptional regulator and is controlled by cAMP. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 281: 135-146

  17. Pandey, A.K., Yang, C., Zhang, C., Graham, M.A., Horstman, H. D., Lee, Y., Zabotina, O.A., Hill, J.H., Pedley, K.F. and Whitham, S.S. (2011) Functional analysis of the genes that contribute to Rpp2-mediated defense against Asian soybean rust. Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction 24 (2): 194-206.

  18. Bhati K, Aggarwal S, Sharma S, Mantri S, Singh SP, Bhalla S, Kaur J, Tiwari S, Roy JK, Tuli R, Pandey, AK* (2014) Differential expression of structural genes for the late phase of phytic acid biosynthesis in developing seeds of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Plant Science 224: 74-85

  19. Alok, A., Kaur, H., Bhati, K.K., Kumar, J., Pandey, P., Upadhyay, S. K., Pandey, A., Sharma, N., Pandey, AK and Tiwari, S. (2015) Biochemical characterization and spatio-temporal expression of myo-inositol oxygenase (MIOX) from wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Plant Gene 4:10-19


  20. Aggarwal, S., Shukla, V., Bhati, K.K., Kaur, M., Sharma, S, Singh, A., Mantri, S. and Pandey, AK* (2015) Hormonal Regulation and Expression Profiles of Wheat Genes Involved during Phytic Acid Biosynthesis Pathway. Plants. 4, 298-319 (Special Issue “Phytic Acid Pathway and Breeding in Plants”)

  21. Bhati, K.K., Sharma, S., Aggarwal, S., Kaur, M., Shukla, V., Kaur, J., Mantri, S. and Pandey AK* (2015) Genome-wide identification and expression characterization of ABCC-MRP transporters in hexaploid wheat. Front. Plant Sci. 6: 488. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00488

  22. Shumayla., Sharma, A., Pandey, A.K., Singh, K. and Upadhyay, S.K. (2016). Molecular characterization and global expression analysis of lectin receptor kinases in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) PlosOne 11(4):e0153925.doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0153925


  23. Shukla V, Kaur M, Aggarwal S, Bhati KK, Kaur J, Mantri S and Pandey, AK (2016). Tissue specific transcript profiling of wheat phosphate transporter genes and its association with phosphate allocation in grains. Scientific Reports. 6: 39293.

  24. Secco D, Bouain N, Prom-u-thai C, Hanin M, Pandey AK and Rouached H. (2017). Phosphate, phytate and phytases in plants: from fundamental knowledge gained in Arabidopsis to potential biotechnological applications in wheat. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. 2017 Jan 12:1-13. doi: 10.1080/07388551. (invited review)

  25. Bhati, K.K., Alok, A., Kumar A., Kaur, J., Tiwari, S*. and Pandey, A.K*. (2016). Silencing of ABCC13 transporter in wheat reveals its involvement in grain development, phytic acid accumulation and lateral root formation. Journal of Experimental Botany 67 (14): 4379-4389

  26. Kisko M, Shukla V, Kaur M, Bouain N, Chaiwong N, Lacombe B, Pandey AK, Hatem Rouached. (2018). Phosphorus Transport in Arabidopsis and Wheat: Emerging Strategies to Improve P Pool in Seeds. Agriculture 8 (2), 27

  27. Aggarwal S, Kumar A, Bhati KK, Kaur G, Shukla V, Tiwari S and Pandey AK. (2018). RNAi-Mediated Downregulation of Inositol Pentakisphosphate Kinase (IPK1) in Wheat Grains Decreases Phytic Acid Levels and Increases Fe and Zn Accumulation Front. Plant Sci. 9:259. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00259


  28. Kumar A, Kaur G, Goel P, Bhati KK, Kaur M, Shukla V and Pandey AK. (2018). Genome-wide analysis of oligopeptide transporters and detail charaterization of yellow stripe transporter genes in hexaploid wheat. Functional & Integrative Genomics (

  29.  Kerry F. Pedley, Ajay K. Pandey, Amy Ruck, Lori M. Lincoln, Steven A. Whitham and Michelle A. Graham (2018). Rpp1 encodes a ULP1-NBS-LRR protein that controls immunity to Phakopsora pachyrhizi in soybean. Molecular Plant Microb Interaciton. Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction. (