Professor Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar

Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar

Position Title
Department Chair; Professor

Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences
Genome Center

116A Briggs Hall

Research Interests

Host-microbe interactions

NLRs and PRRs function in innate immune signaling

Inter-organellar communications

Programmed cell death (PCD)


Virus-host interactions

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Plant Biology

Specialities / Focus

  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Genomics
  • Environmental and Integrative Biology


  • BIS 104 Cell Biology, Fall
  • MCB 120L Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Laboratory, Fall
  • PLP 210 Biochemistry and Mol Biology of Plant-Microbe interactions , Winter - Guest Lecture
  • GGG 210A Advanced Genetic Analysis , Fall - Guest Lecture


  • Dinesh-Kumar
    • Ugrappa Nagalakshmi - Research Scientist
    • Yuanyuan Li - Post-doc
    • Nathan Meier - PBGG Graduate Student
    • Cameron Hatch - PBGG Graduate Student
    • Nyd Sertsuvalkul - PBGG Graduate Student
    • Barry Chan - PBGG Master Student
    • Xu Tengzhi - Visiting PhD Student - China Agriculture University
    • Elisabeth Lichtenberg - Visiting Master Student - Germany
    • Pin-Jui (Cindy) Huang - Junior Specialist
    • My Huyen Nguyen-Undergraduate Student
    • Jau-Yi Liu - Undergraduate Student

Honors and Awards

  • 2019 Noel T. Keen Award for Research Excellence in Molecular Plant Pathology, American Phytopathological Society
  • 2018 AAAS Fellow
  • 2015-2016 Faculty Research Award, College of Biological Sciences, UC Davis
  • 2010-2011 Semifinalist, HHMI-GBMF Investigator Competition
  • 2002-2003 Junior Faculty Fellowship
  • 2000 Hellman Family Fellowship

    Professional Societies

    • American Society of Plant Biology
    • IS-MPMI
    • AAAS
    • American Phytopathological Society


    • 1994 Ph D Mol Cellular Dev Biol Iowa State University


    Zhang, Y., Song, G., Lal, N. K., Nagalakshmi, U., Li, Y., Zhen, W., Huang, P., Branon, T. C., Ting, A. Y., Walley, J. W., Dinesh-Kumar, S. P. (2019) TurboID-based proximity labeling reveals that UBR7 is a regulator of N NLR immune receptor-mediated immunity. Nature Communications 10(1):3252.

    Li, J., Huang, H., Zhu, M., Huang, S., Zhang, W., Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. and Tao, X. (2019) A plant immune receptor adopts a two-step recognition mechanism to enhance its perception of viral pathogen effector. Molecular Plant 12:248-262.

    Lal, N.K., *Nagalakshmi, U., *Hurlburt, N.K., (*contributed equally) Flores, R., Bak, A., Sone, P., Ma, X., Song, G., Walley, J., Shan, L., He, P., Casteel, C., Fisher, A.J., and Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. (2018) The receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase BIK1 localizes to the nucleus and regulates defense hormone expression during plant innate immunity. Cell Host & Microbe 23:485-497.

    Kumar, A.S., Park, E., Nedo, A., Alqarni, A., Ren, L., Hoban, K., Modla, S., McDonald, J.H., Kambhamettu, C., Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. and Caplan, J.L. (2018) Stromule extension along microtubules coordinated with actin-mediated anchoring guides perinuclear chloroplast movement during innate immunity. eLife 7:e23625 doi: 10.7554/eLife.23625.

    Park, E., Lee, H-Y., Woo, J., Choi, D., and Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. (2017) Spatiotemporal monitoring of Pseudomonas effectors via type III secretion using split fluorescent protein fragments. Plant Cell 29:1571-1584.

    Seo, E., Woo, J., Park, E., Bertolani, S., Siegel, J., Choi, D., and Dinesh-Kumar, S.P. (2016) Comparative analyses of ubiquitin-like ATG8 and cysteine protease ATG4 autophagy genes in the plant lineage and cross-kingdom processing of ATG8 by ATG4. Autophagy 12:2054-2068.

    Caplan, J., Kumar, AS., Park, E., Padmanabhan, M., Hoban, K., Modla, S., Czymmek, K., and Dinesh-Kumar, SP. (2015). Chloroplast stromules function during innate immunity. Dev Cell 34:45-57. (Cover Article).

    Ali, Z., Abul-Faraj, A., Li, L., Ghosh, N., Piatek, M., Mahjoub, A., Aouida, M., Piatek, A., Baltes, N., Voytas, D., Dinesh-Kumar, S.P., Mahfouz, M. (2015) Efficient virus-mediated genome editing in plants using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Mol Plant S1674-2052(15)00162-8.

    Woo J, Park E, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2014) Differential processing of Arabidopsis ubiquitin-like Atg8 autophagy proteins by Atg4 cysteine proteases. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 111:863-868.

    Padmanabhan M, Ma S, Burch-Smith T, Czymmek K, Huijser P, and Dinesh-Kumar SP (2013) Novel Positive Regulatory Role for the SPL6 Transcription Factor in the N TIR-NB-LRR Receptor-Mediated Plant Innate Immunity. PLoS Pathogens 9(3):e1003235.

    Ma S, Shah S, Bohnert HJ, Snyder M, Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2013) Incorporating motif analysis into gene co-expression networks reveals novel modular expression pattern and new signaling pathways. PLoS Genetics 9(10): e1003840.

    Hayward, AP and Dinesh-Kumar, SP (2011) What can Plant Autophagy do for an Innate Immune Response? Annu Rev Phytopathol. 49:557-576.

    Zhu X, Caplan JC, Mamillapalli P, Czymmek K, and Dinesh-Kumar SP (2010) Function of endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase in innate immunity mediated programmed cell death. EMBO J 29, 1007-1018.

    *Caplan JC, *Zhu X, (contributed equally), Mamillapalli P, Marathe R, Anandalakshmi R, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2009) Induced ER-chaperones regulate a receptor-like kinase to mediate anti-viral innate immune response in plants. Cell Host Microbe 6, 457-469.

    Popescu SC, Popescu GV, Bachan S, Zhang Z, Gerstein M, Snyder M, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2009) MAPK target networks in Arabidopsis thaliana revealed using functional protein microarrays. Genes Dev 23:80-92.

    Caplan JC, Mamillapalli P, Burch-Smith TM, Czymmek K, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2008) Chloroplastic protein NRIP1 mediates innate immune receptor recognition of a viral effector. Cell 132:449-462.

    Patel S, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2008) Arabidopsis ATG6 is required to limit the pathogen-associated cell death response. Autophagy 4:20-27.

    Burch-Smith TM, Schiff M, Caplan J, Tsao J, Czymmek K, and Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2007) A novel role for the TIR domain in association with pathogen-derived elicitors. PLoS Biol 5:e68:501-514.

    Liu Y, Schiff M, Czymmek K, Talloczy Z, Levine B, Dinesh-Kumar SP. (2005) Autophagy regulates programmed cell death during the plant innate immune response. Cell 121:567-577.