Faculty & Staff

Kavita Babu
Associate Professor
PhD (2004) NUS, Singapore
Room No. 3F10; AB-2
Sector 81
IISER Mohali

Phone: 0172-2293153
Email: kavitababu[at]iisermohali.ac.in

Kavita Babu

Research summary

Synapses are essential for brain functions. Normal functioning of synapses is required for all activities from the generation of movement to learning and memory. Synaptic function requires a co-ordination between pre-synaptic neurotransmitter release and post-synaptic receptor levels. In my lab we use C. elegans as a model system to study the development and function of synapses.


Multiple studies have revealed that that cell adhesion molecules are required for normal synapse  formation  and  function.  My  post-doctoral  work  has  shown  that  the  cell adhesion molecules, RIG-3 functions through a receptor tyrosine kinase, CAM-1/Ror to maintain  normal  post-synaptic  receptor  levels  at  the  neuromuscular  junction  (see cartoon).  We are interested in understanding the mechanism of RIG-3 function at the synapse.


We are also interested in understanding the role of other cell adhesion molecules at the synapse. Our Laboratory has also recently started trying to understand the molecular basis of learning and memory using C. elegans as a model to study the same.


Techniques used in our Laboratory include C. elegans genetics, RNA interference and behavioral   assays   in   combination   with   Molecular   Biology,   Cell   Biology   and Biochemistry.


For more information about our lab and research please visit www.babulab.org

Selected Publications

  • Raunaq Deo*, Manish S. Kushwah*, Sukrut C. Kamerkar, Nagesh Y. Kadam,Srishti Dar, Kavita Babu, Anand Srivastava and Thomas J. Pucadyil©; ATP-dependent membrane remodeling links EHD1 functions to endocytic recycling. Nature Communications 2018 Dec 5; 9(1): 5187.  (Nagesh Kadam and I helped Thomas Pucadyil’s group at IISER Pune, India to perform C. elegans vacuolar membrane fission experiments for their manuscript.) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07586-z
  • Vina Tikiyani,Lei Li, Pallavi Sharma,Haowen Liu, Zhitao Hu and Kavita Babu©; Wnt secretion is regulated by the tetraspan protein HIC-1 through its interaction with Neurabin/NAB-1. Cell Reports 2018Nov 13; 25(7): 1856-71. (Lei Li, Haowen Liu and Zhitao Hu are collaborators from Queensland Brain Institute, Australia. They performed the electrophysiological recordings for this manuscript.) https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(18)31642-5
  • Pallavi Sharma*,Lei Li*, Haowen Liu, Vina Tikiyani,Zhitao Hu© andKavita Babu©; The Claudin-like protein, HPO-30, is required to maintain LAChRs at the Caenorhabditis elegansneuromuscular junction. The Journal of Neuroscience 2018 Aug 08; 38(32): 7072-87. (Lei Li, Haowen Liu and Zhitao Hu are collaborators from Queensland Brain Institute, Australia. They performed all the electrophysiological recordings for this manuscript.) http://www.jneurosci.org/content/38/32/7072.long
  • Ashwani Bhardwaj*, Saurabh Thapliyal*U, Yogesh Dahiya and Kavita Babu©; FLP-18 functions through the G-protein coupled receptors NPR-1 and NPR-4 to modulate reversal length in Caenorhabditis elegans. The Journal of Neuroscience 2018May 16; 38(20): 4641-54http://www.jneurosci.org/content/38/20/4641.longMentioned on This week in the journal by Teresa Esch. The Journal of Neuroscience 2018 May 16; 38(20) i.Press Release from The Journal of Neurosciencefor this work:



    This work was highlighted by the India Alliance website:


  • Shruti Thapliyal, Shruthi RavindranathUand Kavita Babu©; Regulation of glutamate signaling in the sensorimotor circuit by CASY-1A/Calsyntenin in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics2018Apr 01; 208(4): 1553-64. http://www.genetics.org/content/208/4/1553.longThis work was highlighted by the India Alliance website: https://www.indiaalliance.org/news/226
  • Shruti Thapliyal,Amruta Vasudevan*, Yongming Dong*, Jihong Bai, Sandhya P. Koushika and Kavita Babu©; The C-terminal of CASY-1/Calsyntenin regulates GABAergic synaptic transmission at the Caenorhabditis elegansneuromuscular junction. PLoS Genetics 2018Mar; 14(3): e1007236. (Amruta Vasudevan and Sandhya Kousika are collaborators from TIFR, Mumbai, India. They performed the vesicle transport experiments for this work. Yongming Dong and Jihong Bai are collaborators from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA. They performed the electrophysiological recordings for this paper.) http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1007263This work was highlighted by the India Alliance website:https://www.indiaalliance.org/news/226


  • Pratima Pandey, Ashwani Bhardwaj and Kavita Babu©;Regulation of WNT Signaling at the Neuromuscular Junction by the Immunoglobulin Super-Family Protein RIG-3 in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics2017Jul 01; 206(3): 1521-34. http://www.genetics.org/content/206/3/1521.long
  • Shruti Thapliyal© and Kavita Babu©; C. elegansLocomotion: Finding Balance in Imbalance (invited review for a special edition of a Springer book). Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 2018(in press, for publication in Dec).
  • Shruti Thapliyal and Kavita Babu©; Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced Convulsion Assay to Determine GABAergic Defects in Caenorhabditis elegans (invited protocol).Bio-protocol2018 Sep 05; 8(17).https://bio-protocol.org/e2989
  • Pandey, P., Bhardwaj, A. and Babu K. (2017) Regulation of WNT Signaling at the Neuromuscular Junction by the Immunoglobulin Super-Family Protein RIG-3 in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 2017 Jul 01; 206(3): 1521-34.
  • Babu, K., Hu, Z., Chien, S-C., Garriga, G. and Kaplan, J.M. (2011) The Immunoglobulin super family protein RIG-3 prevents synaptic potentiation and regulates Wnt signaling. Neuron 2011 Jul 14; 71(1): 103-16.
  • Hu, Z.*, Pym, E.C.G.*, Babu, K.*, Vahlishan Murray, A.B.* and Kaplan, J.M. (2011) A neuropeptide-mediated   stretch   response   links   muscle   contraction   to   changes   in neurotransmitter release. Neuron 2011 Jul 14; 71(1): 92-102.* Equal contribution
  • Babu, K., Bahri, S., Alphey, L. and Chia, W. (2005) Bifocal and PP1 interaction regulates targeting of the R-cell growth cone in Drosophila. Dev Biol 2005 Dec 15; 288(2): 372- 86.Corresponding author
  • Babu, K., Cai, Y., Bahri, S. and Chia, W. (2004) Roles of Bifocal, Homer and F-actin in anchoring Oskar to the posterior cortex of Drosophila oocytes. Genes Dev. 2004 Jan 15; 18(2): 138-43.
  • Helps, N.R.*, Cohen, P.T., Bahri, S.M., Chia, W. and Babu, K.* (2001) Interaction with protein phosphatase 1 Is essential for bifocal function during the morphogenesis of the Drosophila compound eye. Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Mar; 21(6): 2154-64.* Equal contribution.