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Plant Virology Laboratory

The focus of the plant virology lab is covering both basic and applied problems in plant virology and plant virus diagnosis.A main research interest is in tropical plant viruses, plant - virus - vector interactions and specifically the identification and validation of resistant genes by knockdown experiments.Along with, the focus is on begomoviruses, Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV), and Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) diversity, multiple transgenic resistance(s) in significant cash crops and development of antibodies against them.

A curiosity is to standardize a protocol for Agrobacterium mediated wheat/sugarcane transformation and to create transgenic resistance targeting Barley yellow dwarf virus, Sugarcane mosaic virus and Citrus tristeza virus. A great intension is the utilization of plant system for the development of vaccines against human viral diseases.

Group Leader
Dr. Muhammad Tahir (

Group Members
Ms Sidra Anwar
Hafiz Khalid
Amber Masood
Hafiza Noorul Ain
Ayesha Ashraf

Lab Facilities
Plant virology lab is fully equipped with the molecular biology, gene silencing, gene expression in bacterial/plants system, production of poly/ mono clonal antibodies, tissue culture facilities.

Projects & Grants
Following competitive research grants have been awarded to Dr. Muhammad Tahir as Project Investigatorl.

Sugarcane productivity enhancement by development of transgenic virus resistance through expression of hairpinRNA (hpRNA) carrying Sugarcane mosaic virus derived sequences. Development and validation of transgenic virus resistance in Nicotiana benthamiana by expression of artificial microRNA (amiRNA) carrying begomovirus (Tomato leaf curl New Delhi Virus) derived sequences 

Development of cotton-infecting begomoviral induced cell death via a modified betasatellite containing the Cyt c gene and monoclonal antibodies against begomoviruses. 

Recent Publications
Shuja, M.N., Tahir, M., and Briddon, R.W. (2017). Occurrence of a recombinant molecule carrying sequences derived from an alphasatellite and the helper virus in cotton leaf curl disease affected cotton. Tropical Plant Pathology. doi. 10.1007/s40858-017-0161-5

Ali, M., Tahir, M., and Hameed, S. (2017). Phylogenetic and genome wide pairwise distance analysis of the Genus Luteovirus. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 54: 363-371.

Akbar, S., Tahir, M. and Shahid Afghan, S. (2017). Characterization of coat protein (CP) gene of Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) from isolates of Pakistan and its phylogenetic relationships. Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences. 27: 268-276.

Akbar, S., Tahir, M., Wang, Ming-Bo, Liu, Q. (2017). Expression Analysis of Hairpin RNA Carrying Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) Derived Sequences and Transgenic Resistance Development in a Model Rice Plant. BioMed Research International.

Ahmed, S.I., Hayat, M.Q., Tahir, M., Mansoor, Q., Ismail, M., Keck, K., and Robert Bates, R.B. (2016) Pharmacologically active flavonoids from the anticancer, antioxidant and antimicrobial extracts of Cassia angustifolia Vahl. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 16: 460. DOI 10.1186/s12906-016-1443-z