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Subramanian Lab

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My lab's major area of interest is root-microbe interactions in legumes. Two major research thrusts in the lab are to determine plant mechanisms that (i) dictate the development of symbiotic root nodules and (ii) recruit beneficial microbes. Legumes such as soybean form symbiotic association with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria resulting in root nodules. miRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression in a post-transcriptional manner. Their role in nodule development is largely unknown. We examine the role of miRNAs in nodule development using a number of different approaches including genetics, genomics, molecular and cellular biology and microscopy. In addition to the enhancement of scientific knowledge and scholarship, this research has economic and environmental benefits since symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legume root nodules alleviates the use of chemical fertilizers.

We are also interested in determining plant mechanisms that influence the microbial diversity in the rhizosphere and plant intercellular spaces. We utilize genetics, metagenomics and molecular microbiology to answer questions related to this research area.

Key research projects in the lab include,

  • Symbiont selection and rewards by host plant
  • miRNA-regulation of auxin-cytokinin balance during nodule development
    • Genome organization of soybean miRNAs
    • Methods to assay miRNA abundance and activity
  • Plant rhizodeposits, agronomic practices and plant-microbe interactions

See Research page for more details.


RhizoDive is an exciting high school laboratory opportunity where students learn about nitrogen sustainability, microbial biodiversity and/or plant meristems (stem cells). All laboratory materials and manuals are provided by us. See RhizoDive page for more details. Contact us if you are interested in participating. 

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