Kirsi Lehto - home page


Description: Description: image002Department of Biochemistry,

Molecular Plant Biology

University of Turku

FIN-20014 Turku University, Finland

Phone: +358-2-3336266, Fax: +358-2-3335549

Research Interests: Plant Virology and Plant-Virus Interactions

  • Tobacco mosaic virus: symptom causing mechanisms
  • RNA-silencing

Other Interests: Astrobiology

  • Teaching of the basic lecture course and a course on the origin of life
  • Questions related to the Origin of Life and Habitability
  • Member of the COST action TD1308 (
  • Member of the ERASMUS + project “European astrobiology campus”
  • Science outreach

Blog:ämän keitaita


Selected Publications:


Janhunen, P., Kaartokallio, H., Oksanen, I., Lehto, K. and Lehto, H. 2007. Biological Feedbacks as

Cause and Demise of Neoproterozoic Icehouse: Astrobiological Prospects for Faster Evolution and Importance of Cold Conditions. PloS ONE, 2007; 2(2): e214


Brandenburg, A., Lehto, K., and Lehto, H. 2007. Homochirality in an early peptide world. Astrobiology 7:725-732.


Karetnikov, A., and K. Lehto. 2007. The RNA2 5' leader of Blackcurrant reversion virus mediates efficient in vivo translation through an internal ribosomal entry site mechanism J Gen. Virol. 88: 286-297.

Le Gall, O., Sanfaçon, H., Ikegami, M., Iwanami, T., Jones, T., Karasev, A., Lehto, K., Wellink, J., Wetzel, T., and Yoshikawa, N. 2007. Cheravirus and Sadwavirus: two unassigned genera of plant positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses formerly considered as atypical members of the genus Nepovirus (family Comoviridae). Arch. Virol. 152:1767-1774.


Siddiqui. S. A., Sarmiento, C., Valkonen, S., Truve, E., and Lehto, K. 2007. Suppression of infectious TMV genomes expressed in young transgenic tobacco plants. Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 20:1489-1494.


Karetnikov, A., and Lehto, K. 2008. Translation mechanisms involving long-distance base pairing interactions between the 5’ and 3’ non-coding regions and internal ribosomal entry are conserved for both genomic RNAs of Black currant reversion nepovirus. Virology 371:292-308.


Siddiqui. S. A., Sarmiento, C., Truve, E., Lehto, H., and Lehto, K. 2008. Phenotypes and functional effects caused by various viral RNA silencing suppressors in transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana and N. tabacum" Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 21:178-187.


Siddiqui. S. A., Sarmiento, C., Kiisma, M.-L., Koivumäki, S., Lemmetty, A., Truve, E., and Lehto, K. 2008. Effects of viral silencing suppressors on tobacco ringspot nepovirus (TRSV) infection in two Nicotiana species. J. Gen. Virol. 89, 1502-1508.


Lehto, K., Lehto, H., Janhunen, P., and Eklund, O. 2009. Astrobiology: study of factors related to the origin and survival of life on Earth and elsewhere. Planetary and Space Science 57:429


Laiterä, T., and Lehto, K. 2009. Protein-mediated Selective Enclosure of Early Replicators Inside of Membranous Vesicles: First Step Towards Cell Membranes. Orig Life Evol Biosph 39:545–558


Soitamo, A.J., Jada, B. and Lehto K., 2011. HcPro silencing suppressor significantly alters the gene expression profile in tobacco leaves and flowers, BMC Plant Biology, 20;11:68.


Siddiqui, S., Valkonen, J.P.T., Rajamäki M.-L. and Lehto K. 2011. The 2b silencing suppressor of a mild strain of Cucumber mosaic virus alone is sufficient for synergistic interaction with Tobacco mosaic virus and induction of severe leaf malformation in 2b-transgenic tobacco plants. Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 24:685-93.


Raksaji W, Satchasatapor K, Lehto K, Mäenpää P and Incharoensakdi A. 2012. Enhancement of hydrogen production by the filamentous non-heterocystous cyanobacterium Arthrospira sp. PCC 8005. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 37: 18791 – 18797.


Soitamo A., Jada B., and Lehto K. 2012 Expression of geminiviral AC2 RNA silencing suppressor changes sugar and jasmonate responsive gene expression in transgenic tobacco plants. BMC Plant Biology. Accepted for publication.


Hilchenbach, M., Gniewosz, B., Tarcea, N., Lehto, K., Lehto, H. J. 2013. Iron Meteorite Fragment Characterized with Raman Spectroscopy as Extraterrestrial Analog Matter for Rosetta COSIMA. Meteoritics and Planetary Science Supplement, id.5013


Lehto, K., Lehto, H.J., Brozinski, A., Gardner, E., Eklund, O., Rajala, K., Räsänen, M., Sääksjärvi,I., Vainio L., and Vuorisalo, T. 2013. Time Trek: a 13.7 km long nature trail leading through the history of the Universe and the Earth. Int. J. of Astrobiology 12:1-7.

Jada B., Soitamo A., and Lehto K. 2013. Organ-specific alterations in tobacco transcriptome caused by the PVX-derived P25 silencing suppressor transgene. BMC Plant Biology, 13:8

Vuorinen AL, Kalpio M, Linderborg KM, Kortesniemi M, Lehto K, Niemi J, Yang B, Kallio HP. 2013. Coordinate changes in gene expression and triacylglycerol composition in the developing seeds of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and turnip rape (Brassica rapa). Food Chem.145:664-73.

Jada B, Soitamo AJ, Siddiqui SA, Murukesan G, Aro E-M, Salakoski T. and Lehto K. 2014. Multiple different defense mechanisms are activated in the young transgenic tobacco plants which express the full length genome of the Tobacco mosaic virus, and are resistant against this virus. PLOS One,

H. J. Lehto, B. Zaprudin, K. M. Lehto, T. Lönnberg, J. Silén, J. Rynö, H. Krüger, M. Hilchenbach, J. Kissel. 2014. Analysis of COSIMA spectra: Bayesian approach. Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems. 4:563-588.


Murukesan G, Leino H, Mäenpää P, Ståhle K, Raksajit W, Lehto H, and Lehto K. 2015.

Cyanobacterial growth and H2 photoproduction in pressurized Martian-like pure CO2 atmospheres. Orig. Life Evol. Biosph. DOI 10.1007/s11084-015-9458-x.

Verseux C, Baqué M, Lehto K, de Vera J-P.P, Rothschild L, Billi D. 2016. Sustainable life support on Mars – the potential roles of cyanobacteria. Int. J. of Astrobiology 15(1):65-92

Murukesan, G.; Leino, H.; Mäenpää, P.; Ståhle, K.; Raksajit, W.; Lehto, HJ.; Allahverdiyeva-Rinne, Y. & Lehto, K. 2016: Pressurized Martian-like pure CO2 atmosphere supports strong growth of cyanobacteria, and causes significant changes in their metabolism. Orig. Life and Evol.  of the Biosph. 46(1): 119-131. [A1] (Epub 2015 Aug 21).

Fray, N.; and the COSIMA team. 2016. High-molecular weight organic matter in the aprticles of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimentko. Nature 538: 72-74 doi:10.1038/nature19320.

Hilchenbach, M.; and the COSIMA team. 2016:  Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko: Close-up on dust particle fragments. - THE ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS  816(2): L32 pp.1-6.   [A1]   (Epub 2016 Jan 12).


Books and book chapters:

Lehto, K., Kanervo, E., Ståhle, K., Lehto, H. Tammi, M. and Virtanen, J. 2007. Photosynthetic life support systems in the Martian conditions. In: 'Microorganisms and the Martian Environment - Report of the ROME Topical Team', (Ed. Charles Cockell). ESA SP-1298, ESA Publications Division, European Space Agency, Noordwijk, The Netherlands. 


Lehto, K. 2007. From molecular evolution to cellular life. In: Complete course in astrobiology, Eds: Gerda Horneck and Petra Rettberg. Wiley-VCH. pp. 85-120.


Lehto, K. 2008. Elämän synnyn ongelma. Kirjassa: Evoluutio nyt (Ed. Timo Vuorisalo ja Petter Portin). Kirja-Aurora, Turku. pp. 75-87.

Brozinski, A., Lehto, H., Rajala, K ja Lehto, K. 2011. Aikakirja. 103 pp.

Teerikorpi, P., Valtonen, M., Lehto, K., Lehto, H., Byrd, G., Chernin, A. 2009 The Evolving Universe and the Origin of Life. The Search for Our Cosmic Roots. ISBN: 978-0-387-09533-2.

Lehto, K. Elämän synty. 2009. Kirjassa “Kaikki evoluutiosta”, toim. Ilkka Hanski, Ilkka Niiniluoto ja Ilari Hetemäki. Gaudeamus, Helsinki University Press, pp. 40 – 53.

Public outreach projects:

Aikavaellus / TimeTrek. 2011. A 13.7 km long nature trail from Tuorla observatory to the Turku University campus to portray the history of the Universe. The main events of the history of the Universe, Earth and the biosphere are described in information plates. See: