• Nikhil Kumar

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Role of polyamines and ethylene as modulators of plant senescence

      S Pandey S A Ranade P K Nagar Nikhil Kumar

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      Under optimal conditions of growth, senescence, a terminal phase of development, sets in after a certain physiological age. It is a dynamic and closely regulated developmental process which involves an array of changes at both physiological and biochemical levels including gene expression. A large number of biotic and abiotic factors accelerate the process. Convincing evidence suggests the involvement of polyamines (PAs) and ethylene in this process. Although the biosynthetic pathways of both PAs and ethylene are interrelated, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) being a common precursor, their physiological functions are distinct and at times antagonistic, particularly during leaf and flower senescence and also during fruit ripening. This provides an effective means for regulation of their biosynthesis and also to understand the mechanism by which the balance between the two can be established for manipulating the senescence process. The present article deals with current advances in the knowledge of the interrelationship between ethylene and PAs during senescence which may open up new vistas of investigation for the future.

    • Genetic diversity amongst landraces of a dioecious vegetatively propagated plant, betelvine (Piper betle L.)

      Anjali Verma Nikhil Kumar S A Ranade

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      Betelvine (Piper betle L., family Piperaceae) is an important, traditional and widely cultivated crop of India. The cultivators and consumers recognize more than 100 cultivars (landraces) based on regional and organoleptic considerations, while in terms of phytochemical constituents only five groups have been identified for all the landraces. Since betelvine is an obligate vegetatively propagated species, genomic changes, if any, may have become ‘fixed’ in the landraces. We carried out random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis in several landraces considered in four groups, namely, ‘Kapoori’, ‘Bangla’, ‘Sanchi’ and ‘Others’ in order to ascertain their genetic diversity. On the basis of the data from eleven RAPD primers, we distinguished genetic variation within and among the four groups of landraces. The results indicate the’Kapoori’ group is the most diverse. The neighbour joining (NJ) tree after a bootstrap (500 replicate) test of robustness clearly shows the four groups to be well separated. Interestingly, all known male or female betelvine landraces have separated in the NJ tree indicating an apparent gender-based distinction among the betelvines.

    • Characteristic differences in metabolite profile in male and female plants of dioecious Piper betle L.

      Vikas Bajpai Renu Pandey Mahendra Pal Singh Negi K Hima Bindu Nikhil Kumar Brijesh Kumar

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      Piper betle is a dioecious pan-Asiatic plant having cultural and medicinal uses. It belongs to the family Piperaceae and is a native of the tropics although it is also cultivated in subtropical areas. Flowering in P. betle occurs only in tropical regions. Due to lack of inductive floral cycles the plant remains in its vegetative state in the subtropics. Therefore, due to lack of flowering, gender distinction cannot be made the in the subtropics. Gender distinction in P. betle in vegetative state can be made using Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectroscopy (DARTMS), a robust high-throughput method. DARTMS analysis of leaf samples of two male and six female plants showed characteristic differences in the spectra between male and female plants. Semi-quantitative differences in some of the identified peaks in male and female landraces showed gender-based differences in metabolites. Cluster analysis using the peaks at m/z 151, 193, 235 and 252 showed two distinct clusters of male and female landraces. It appears that male and female plants besides having flowers of different sexes also have characteristic differences in the metabolites representing two metabolic types.

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