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Kranthi Varala

Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 

  • Asst Prof Hort & Landscape Architecture
765.494.0152
Horticulture Building Room 307

Research

My research focuses on how plants perceive abiotic stress and alter their transcriptional programs as a response to the specific stress. My lab aims to capture natural genetic variation and the resultant transcriptional states leading to plant adaptation and resilience by using a combination of genomic, systems biology and phylogenetic tools. Specifically, the research aims to understand how plants alter their transcriptional program immediately in response to thermal stress in the short term. In the long term we want to understand how plants change their overall gene expression regime on evolutionary scales to adapt to colder and warmer climates.

My research uses phylogenomic approaches to identify gene-to-trait association by tracking recurring changes in plant genomes that co-occur with the gain/loss of a trait. Independently, we apply systems biology approaches in the model plants, to understand transcriptional reprogramming in response to environmental stimuli such as temperature, nutrition etc. We are particularly interested in whether these transient changes in the plant transcriptome offer insights into plant adaptation to diverse environments. 

More information

Selected Publications

Findley, S. D., Cannon, S., Varala, K., Du, J., Ma, J., Hudson, M. E., . . . Stacey, G. (2010). A Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization System for Karyotyping Soybean. GENETICS, 185(3), 727-744. doi:10.1534/genetics.109.113753

Toth, A. L., Varala, K., Henshaw, M. T., Rodriguez-Zas, S. L., Hudson, M. E., & Robinson, G. E. (2010). Brain transcriptomic analysis in paper wasps identifies genes associated with behaviour across social insect lineages. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 277(1691), 2139-2148. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.0090

Tuteja, J. H., Zabala, G., Varala, K., Hudson, M., & Vodkin, L. O. (2010). Endogenous, Tissue-Specific Short Interfering RNAs Silence the Chalcone Synthase Gene Family in Glycine max Seed Coats (vol 21, pg 3063, 2009) PLANT CELL, 22(5), 1647-1647. doi:10.1105/tpc.110.220560

Swaminathan, K., Alabady, M. S., Varala, K., De Paoli, Emanuele, Ho, I., Rokhsar, D. S., . . . Hudson, M. E. (2010). Genomic and small RNA sequencing of Miscanthus x giganteus shows the utility of sorghum as a reference genome sequence for Andropogoneae grasses. GENOME BIOLOGY, 11(2). doi:10.1186/gb-2010-11-2-r12

Schwarz, D., Robertson, H. M., Feder, J. L., Varala, K., Hudson, M. E., Ragland, G. J., . . . Berlocher, S. H. (2009). Sympatric ecological speciation meets pyrosequencing: sampling the transcriptome of the apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella. BMC GENOMICS, 10. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-633

Swaminathan, K., Varala, K., & Hudson, M. E. (2007). Global repeat discovery and estimation of genomic copy number in a large, complex genome using a high-throughput 454 sequence survey. BMC GENOMICS, 8. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-132

Toth, A. L., Varala, K., Newman, T. C., Miguez, F. E., Hutchison, S. K., Willoughby, D. A., . . . Robinson, G. E. (2007). Wasp gene expression supports an evolutionary link between maternal behavior and eusociality. SCIENCE, 318(5849), 441-444. doi:10.1126/science.1146647

Doidy, J., Li, Y., Neymotin, B., Edwards, M. B., Varala, K., Gresham, D., & Coruzzi, G. M. (2016). "Hit-and-Run" transcription: de novo transcription initiated by a transient bZIP1 "hit" persists after the "run" BMC GENOMICS, 17. doi:10.1186/s12864-016-2410-2

Varala, K., Li, Y., Marshall-Colon, A., Para, A., & Coruzzi, G. M. (2015). "Hit-and-Run" leaves its mark: Catalyst transcription factors and chromatin modification. BIOESSAYS, 37(8), 851-856. doi:10.1002/bies.201400205

Li, Y., Varala, K., & Coruzzi, G. M. (2015). From milliseconds to lifetimes: tracking the dynamic behavior of transcription factors in gene networks. 31(9), 509-515. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2015.05.005

Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, 625 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010 USA, (765) 494-1300

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