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Ramesh Raju Vetukuri

Vetukuri Ramesh
Associate Professor / Docent


Oomycetes are Eukaryotic microbes that resemble fungi in their mode of growth and the ecological niches that they occupy. Many members of this group are economically damaging plant pathogens causing serious agricultural or environmental diseases across the world. Late blight of potato and tomato, caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, is a global threat to food security and hugely economically costly to the Swedish potato industry. Approximately half of all fungicides used in Swedish agriculture are directed at controlling potato late blight. New control measures are timely and necessary. Effectors are molecules produced by pathogens that manipulate host cell structure or functions to facilitate infection and/or trigger defence responses (e.g. expression of classical resistance (R) genes in host plants). In silico analysis predicts several large classes of effectors within the oomycetes such as RxLR dEER and crinkler effector families. However, identifying the precise biochemical functions of such molecules within pathogenicity and/or host defence and exploitation of these data in translational research are the major challenges facing the oomycete research community today.

Our research, therefore aims to bridge this gap by developing new and sustainable ways to control oomycete diseases, based on a platform of fundamental research. I am currently focused on the following projects:

• Exploiting the biological activity, and effector repertoire, of the mycoparasitic oomycete Pythium oligandrum for disease control.
• Comparative genomics and transcriptomics of diverse and understudied oomycetes including:
  The Mycoparasites Pythium oligandrum and Pythium periplocum.
  The entomopathogenic oomycete biological control agent Lagenidium giganteum.
  The new and emerging food security threat, Phytophthora colocasiae (causal agent of Taro leaf blight)
• Environmental and ecological analysis of oomycete diversity, pathogenicity and community interactions in the soil and/or leaf microbiome.
• Exploiting effector genomics of tree-infecting oomycete pathogens to deliver improved forest health

Selected publications

1.       Vetukuri RR, Tripathy S, Malar C M, Panda A, Kushwaha SK, Chawade A, Andreasson E, Grenville-Briggs LJ, Whisson SC (2018) Draft genome sequence for the tree pathogen Phytophthora plurivora. Genome Biology and Evolution 2018:evy162-evy162.

2.       Vetukuri RR, Kushwaha SK, Sen D, Whisson SC, Lamour KH, Grenville-Briggs LJ (2018) Draft genome of the oomycete taro pathogen Phytophthora colocasiae. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions,

3.       Minina EA, Moschou PN, Vetukuri RR, Sanchez VV , Cardoso C, Liu Q , Elander PH, Dalman k , Beganovic M, Lindberg JY, Marmon S , Shabala L, Suarez MF, Ljung k,  Novák O, Shabala S, Stymne S, Hofius D, Bozhkov PV (2018) Transcriptional stimulation of rate-limiting components of the autophagic pathway improves plant fitness. Journal of Experimental Botany. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ery010.

4.       Vetukuri RR, Whisson SC, Grenville-Briggs LJ (2017) Phytophthora infestans effector Pi14054 is a novel candidate suppressor of host silencing mechanisms. European Journal of Plant Pathology. DOI 10.1007/s10658-017-1222-9.

5.       Rur, M Rämert B, Hökeberg M, Vetukuri RR, Grenville-Briggs L, Liljeroth E (2017) Screening of Alternative Products for Integrated Pest Management of Cucumber Powdery Mildew in Sweden. European Journal of Plant Pathology (accepted).

6.       Grenville-Briggs LJ, Kushwaha SK, Cleary MR, Witzell J, Savenkov EI, Whisson SC, Chawade A, Vetukuri RR (2017) Draft Genome of the Oomycete pathogen Phytophthora cactorum Strain LV007 isolated from European Beech. Genomics Data.

7.       Kushwaha SK*, Vetukuri RR*, Grenville-Briggs LJ (2017) Draft Genome Sequence of the Mycoparasitic Oomycete Pythium oligandrum Strain CBS 530.74. Genome announcements.*Joint first author

8.       Kushwaha SK*, Vetukuri RR*, Grenville-Briggs LJ (2017) Draft Genome of Biocontrol Agent Pythium periplocum Strain CBS 532.74. Genome announcements. doi:10.1125/genomeA.00057-17 *Joint first author

9.       Cleary MR, Blomquist M, Vetukuri RR, Böhlenius H, Witzell J (2017) Susceptibility of Phytophthora cambivora, P. plurivora and P. cactorum to common tree species in Sweden. Forest pathology. DOI: 10.1111/efp.12329

10.    Löbmann MT, Vetukuri RR, Zinger LD, Alsanius BW, Grenville-Briggs LJ, Walter AJ (2016) The occurrence of pathogen suppressive soils in Sweden in relation to soil biota, soil properties, and farming practices. Applied Soil Ecology.

11.    Åsman AK, Fogelqvist J, Vetukuri RR, Dixelius C (2016) Phytophthora infestans Argonaute 1 binds microRNA and small RNAs from effector genes and transposable elements. New Phytol. 211(3):993-1007. doi: 10.1111/nph.13946. Epub 2016 Mar 24.

12.    Burra DD, Vetukuri RR, Resjö S, Grenville-Briggs LJ, Andreasson E (2015) RNAseq and Proteomics for Analysing Complex Oomycete Plant Interactions. Curr Issues Mol Biol. 19:73-88.

13.    Lukhovitskaya NI, Cowan GH, Vetukuri RR, Tilsner J, Torrance L, Savenkov EI (2015) Importin-α mediated nucleolar localisation of potato mop-top virus TRIPLE GENE BLOCK1 (TGB1) protein facilitates virus systemic movement, whereas TGB1 self-interaction is required for cell-to-cell movement in Nicotiana benthamiana. Plant Physiology 167: 738-752.

14.    Jahan SN, Åsman AKM, Corcoran P, Fogelqvist J, Vetukuri RR, Dixelius C (2015) Plant-mediated gene silencing restricts growth of the potato late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans J. Exp. Bot., doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv094

15.    Lukhovitskaya NI*, Vetukuri RR*, Sama I, Thaduri S, Solovyev AG, and Savenkov EI (2014) A viral transcription factor exhibits antiviral RNA silencing suppression activity independent of its nuclear localization. J. Gen. Virol. doi10.1099/vir.0.067884-0 *Joint first author

16.    Munch D, Teh O-K, Malinovsky FG, Liu Q, Vetukuri RR, El Kasmi F, Brodersen P, Hara-Nishimura I, Dangl JL, Petersen M, Mundy J, Hofius D (2015) Retromer Contributes to Immunity-Associated Cell Death in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. doi:

17.    Åsman* AKM, Vetukuri RR*, Jahan SN, Fogelqvist J, Avrova AO, Whisson SC, Dixelius C (2014) Fragmentation of tRNA in Phytophthora infestans asexual life cycle stages and during host plant infection. BMC Microbiology 14:308. *Joint first author

18.    Vetukuri RR, Åsman AKM, Jahan SN, Avrova AO, Whisson SC, Dixelius C (2013) Phenotypic diversification by gene silencing in Phytophthora plant pathogens. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 6:e25890.

19.    Vetukuri RR, Åsman AKM, Tellgren-Roth C, Jahan SN, Reimegård J, Fogelqvist J, Savenkov EI, Söderbom F, Avrova AO, Whisson SC, Dixelius C (2012) Evidence for small RNAs Homologous to Effector-Encoding Genes and Transposable Elements in the Oomycete Phytophthora infestans. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51399. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051399

20.    Whisson SC, Vetukuri RR, Avrova AO, and Dixelius C. (2012) Can silencing of transposons contribute to variation in effector gene expression in Phytophthora infestans? Mobile Genetic Elements. 2 (2): 110 – 114.

21.    Vetukuri RR, Zhendong T, Avrova AO, Savenkov EI, Dixelius C, Whisson SC (2011) Silencing of the PiAvr3a effector-encoding gene from Phytophthora infestans by transcriptional fusion to a short interspersed element. Fungal Biol 115:1225-1233.

22.    Vetukuri RR, Avrova AO, Grenville-Briggs LJ, Van West P, Söderbom F, Savenkov, EI, Whisson SC, Dixelius C (2011) Evidence for involvement of Dicer-like, Argonaute and histone deacetylase proteins in gene silencing in Phytophthora infestans. Mol Plant Pathol. 12:772-785.

23.    Bos JI, Armstrong MR, Gilroy EM, Boevink PC, Hein I, Taylor RM, Zhendong T, Engelhardt S, Vetukuri RR, Harrower B, Dixelius C, et al  (2010) Phytophthora infestans effector AVR3a is essential for virulence and manipulates plant immunity by stabilizing host E3 ligase CMPG1. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 107, 9909–9914.


Researcher at the Institutionen för växtskyddsbiologi
Telephone: 040415340
Postal address:
Växtskyddsbiologi, Box 102
23053 Alnarp
Visiting address: Sundsvägen 10, Alnarp