The course will focus on major biochemical processes and regulatory control that operate in plant development. With an increasing awareness of environmental problems, the course will include various aspects of stress biology, especially the biotic and abiotic stresses which illustrate mechanism/s of stress tolerance in plants. Understanding the biology of plants, different aspects of signal transduction, and the impact of genetic engineering for crop improvement are many of prime issues of this course that will continue to fuel the expansion of plant biology research.
1. Biochemical Processes
- Photosynthesis: Light harvesting complexes, Mechanism of electron transport, Chlorophyll fluorescence, Photoprotective mechanism, CO2 fixation- C3, C4 and CAM pathways.
- Respiration and Photorespiration: Citric acid cycle, Plant mitochondrial electron transport and ATP synthesis, Alternative oxidase, Photorespiratory pathway.
- Water and Solute Transport and Photo-assimilates Translocation: Uptake, transport and translocation of water, ions, solutes and macromolecules from soil, through cells, across membranes, through xylem and phloem, Transpiration, Mechanism of loading and unloading of photoassimilates.
- Plant Nutrients: Essential nutrients (macro-nutrient & micro-nutrient) and their deficiency disorders.
- Nitrogen metabolism: Nitrogen fixation,Ammonia uptake and transport,Nitrate uptake and reduction.
- Secondary Metabolism: Biosynthesis and uses of alkaloids, glycosides, terpenes and phenolics.
- Molecular basis of stem, leafand root development.
- Molecular basis of reproduction: Male and female gametophyte, Male sterility, Fertilization, Seed, Apomixis.
3. Signal Transduction
- Overview of cell signalling.
- Membrane receptors and receptor proteins.
- Secondary messengers: Ca2+/CaM, NO etc.
- Kinase signalling and reversible phosphorylation.
- Plant Hormones: Biosynthesis, perception, signalling and role in plant growth and development.
- Light Signalling: Perception, signalling and role in plant growth and development.
- Sugar Signalling: Perception, signalling and role in plant growth and development.
4. Plant Response to Environment
- Abiotic Stress: Drought, Salinity, Light, Temperature and heavy metals. Stress perception, Adverse effect of stresses on plant growth and development, Cellular, physiological and biochemical responses to stresses.
- Plant Immunity: Genetics of immune response, Signal perception, Host-pathogen interaction (bacteria, fungus, and virus).
- Symbiosis: Mycorrhizal and rhizobial interaction.
5. Genetic engineering & crop improvement (8 lectures)
- Recombinant DNA technology, cloning of genes and regulatory elements.
- Gene manipulation (over-expression and RNA interference).
- Plant genetic transformation, cis-genics and transgenics.
- Agronomic, industrial and quality traits.
- Bioethics, Biosafety, Intellectual property rights and implications in plant research.
M. Sc. or equivalent degree (by August 31, 2017)