A microscopy image showing layers in different colors and a network of neurons

Department of

Photo of Sunish Kumar   Radhakrishnan

Sunish Kumar Radhakrishnan

Associate Professor


Cell Cycle Control and Differentiation in Bacteria, Antimicrobial Resistance



Sunish Radhakrishnan did his PhD from Pondicherry University, India, and postdoctoral research at Case School of Medicine, USA and University of Geneva, Switzerland. He was a faculty member at IISER Thiruvananthapuram and University of Warwick, UK before joining IISER Pune. 


Developmental signalling in bacteria

The successful development and proliferation of every living organism, unicellular to multicellular alike, highly relies on precise coordination of various developmental events during the cell cycle. For example, growth and division of every cell need to be coordinated with the availability of nutrients and their metabolism. The underlying principles that interlink events such as metabolism, or organelle development, to growth and proliferation is poorly understood. Work in Dr. Sunish Radhakrishnan's group is aimed towards gaining fundamental insights into the top-level signalling cascades that (i) regulate cell cycle transition stages, (ii) drive cell cycle and proliferation in response to cellular metabolism and organelle biogenesis, (iii) determine cell-type specificity of the dividing daughter cells, and (iv) assist in anti-microbial resistance. Towards this, the group uses the genetically tractable dimorphic bacterial model, Caulobacter crescentus, in combination with an array of genetic, biochemical and imaging tools. The insights gained from their study will help understand similar mechanisms in other cell types, including pathogenic bacteria, and aid in the process of identifying new therapeutic entry points in our combat against bacterial pathogens.

Selected Publications

Siwach, M., Kumar, L., Palani, S., Muraleedharan, S., Panis, G., Fumeaux, C., Mony, B.M., Sanyal, S., Viollier, P.H., and Radhakrishnan, S.K. 2021. An organelle-tethering mechanism couples flagellation to cell division in bacteria. Developmental Cell 56: 657-670.

Narayanan, S., Kumar, L., and Radhakrishnan, S.K. 2018. Sensory domain of the cell cycle kinase CckA regulates the differential DNA binding of the master regulator CtrA in Caulobacter crescentus. BBA Gene Regulatory Mechanisms 1861(10): 952–961.

Janakiraman, B., Mignolet, J., Narayanan, S., Viollier, P.H. and Radhakrishnan, S.K. 2016. In-phase oscillation of global regulons is orchestrated by a pole-specific organizer. PNAS 113(44): 12550-12555.

Narayanan, S., Janakiraman, B., Kumar, L., and Radhakrishnan, S.K. 2015. A cell cycle-controlled redox switch regulates the topoisomerase IV activity. Genes & Development 29: 1175-1187.