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Department of

Photo of S.   G. Srivatsan

S. G. Srivatsan



Chemical biology, nucleic acid chemistry, assay development, functionalised nucleic acids


S.G. Srivatsan obtained his M. Sc. degree in chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 1995 and PhD in bioorganic chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2003. He was an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow at University of Bonn, Germany and a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Diego before joining IISER Pune in November 2008.


Chemical Biology: Nucleic Acid Chemistry and Biophysics

My group is developing tools to assess structure, dynamics and function of nucleic acids in cell-free and cellular environments. We have initiated a research program to develop structurally non-perturbing and conformation-sensitive multifunctional nucleoside probes for studying nucleic acids in real time by fluorescence, in 3D by X-ray crystallography and in cells by NMR. Some of these nucleoside analogs have been utilized in developing assays to (i) detect nucleic acid damage (depurinated site) in DNA and RNA, (ii) monitor nucleic acid-drug binding and (iii) study the structure and recognition properties of non-canonical nucleic acid structures such as G-quadruplexes and i-motifs. We are also developing new chemo-enzymatic methods to functionalize nucleic acids by using bioorthogonal chemistry. We have developed practical chemical labeling and imaging techniques for cellular RNAs by using novel toolbox made of azide- and alkyne-modified UTP analogues. These analogues are readily incorporated into transcribing RNA by endogenous RNA polymerases, which can be posttranscriptionally labeled with a variety of probes by bioorthogonal reactions such as click and Staudinger ligation reactions. Taking forward this methodology we have recently remodeled CRISPR guide RNA by using a terminal nucleotide transferase to display small molecules on specific gene targets.