Dr. Manish Raorane

Education and professional qualifications:








Mumbai University




Newcastle University




Newcastle University



Visiting Research Fellow

International Rice Research Institute



Post Doctoral VRF

International Rice Research Institute



Post Doctoral Fellow

Karlsruhe Institute for Technology


Since 2015


Current Research Area of Interest (November, 2015 onwards):

Innovative biomimetic strategies for metabolic engineering to produce novel alkaloids in Taxus and Catharanthus cell lines: a microfluidics and a metabolomics approach

A plethora of bioactive plant metabolites has been explored for pharmaceutical, food chemistry and agricultural applications. The chemical synthesis of these structures is often difficult, so plants are favorably preferred as producers. Alkaloids are synthesized in different organs or tissues of the plants at particular developmental stages and in response to various biotic and abiotic stimuli and/or signals. While whole plants can serve as a source for secondary metabolites and can be also improved by metabolic engineering, more often cell or organ cultures of relevant plant species are feasible. However, only in few cases the production for commercial application in such cultures has been achieved. Their genetic manipulation is sometimes faster and the production of a specific metabolite is more reliable, because of less environmental influences. In addition, up scaling in bioreactors is nowadays possible for many of these cultures. However there are some limitations of these bioreactors. Contrary to the bioreactors, in plants different and specialized cell types have to interact within a metabolic process chain to form such bioactive compounds. In order to address such a crucial limiting factor, we employ a unique biomimetic strategy of integrating such various specialized cell types through a microfluidics chamber system. This provides us with an interesting tool to investigate the dynamic modulations of metabolites as well as generate an experimental model that shall help us to engineer metabolic pathways to produce novel bioactive compounds.


Major Research Activities (2011-2015):

During my previous post-doctoral experience, I was able to hone myunderstanding of the plant molecular biology and also gain competitive knowledge on plant physiology and biochemistry.I worked extensively on characterizing rice QTL for yield under drought stress. This work involved fine mapping of candidate genes using computational approach, cloning of the candidate genes, development and characterization of transgenic rice plants for drought tolerance. I was also successful in taking a high throughput approach of using the NGS data, SNP data, proteomics and targeted metabolites to study network of events involved in the rice plants response towards a complex stress such as drought.The aim of the above research was to provide the breeders with better understanding of the distribution of the QTLs within the several rice germplasms and to help them select better parental lines. My research also helps to provide them with gene based markers for better and faster selection of lines which eventually could lead to releasing new promising elite drought tolerant rice varieties.

I was also involved in studying NAC family transcription factor and studying the various post-translational modifications it undergoes to be able to function as transcription factor and to control the set of genes involved in providing the desired morpho-physiological traits. The aim of the above research was to provide the scientific world an understanding of how transcription factors work in concert with set of genes and other transcription factors to control complex traits and counter drought stress and increase rice yield.

I had also investigated a single gene belonging to the cupin family proteins, which was proved to be a tetra-functional moonlighting protein and essential for seed development in the rice grain. Its functional characterization along with its essentiality in seed development makes it very crucial for grain yield in rice.This gene thus serve as the marker for the breeders to ensure that the selected lines from the mapping populations will have a better grain filling and thus a better yield.

An interesting idea about the role of root proteases was also envisioned and proved, elucidating their critical role in providing the nutrients for uptake by the roots and also for remobilization of C-N compounds which are crucial for sustenance of plants against drought stress.

Working at IRRI gave me the unique opportunity to work on rice crop and increase my understanding of applying research towards maintaining food security for the human race. IRRIs mission of increasing rice yield production under various biotic and abiotic stresses provided me with the credentials on using basic fundamental science approach to tackle applied research problems.


Selected Publications:

  1. Dixit S, Biswal AK, Min A, Henry A, Oane RH, Raorane ML,et al. (2015) Action of multiple intra-QTL genes concerted around a co-localized transcription factor underpins a large effect QTL. Nature Scientific Reports - pdf
  2. RaoraneML,Pabuayon IM,et al. (2015) Variation in primary metabolites in parental and near-isogenic lines of the QTL qDTY12.1: altered roots and flag leaves but similar spikelets of rice under drought. Molecular Breeding - pdf
  3. Raorane ML, Pabuayon IM, et al. (2015) Proteomic insights into the role of the large-effect QTL qDTY12.1 for rice yield under drought. Molecular Breeding - pdf
  4. Raorane ML, Narciso JO & Kohli A. (2015) Total soluble protein extraction for improved proteomic analysis of transgenic plants. Methods in Molecular Biology: Multigene Engineering in Plants Eds Twyman RM, Christou P. Springer-Verlag, New York. - pdf
  5. RaoraneML, MutteS, VardarajanA, PabuayonI&Kohli A (2013)Protein SUMOylation and plant abiotic stress signaling: in silicocase study of rice RLKs, heat-shock and Ca2+-binding proteins. PlantCell Reports - pdf
  6. Kohli A, Narciso JO, Miro B & Raorane ML. (2012) Root proteases: reinforced links between nitrogen uptake and mobilization and drought tolerance. Physiologia Plantarum - pdf