Current Projects in the Gupta Laboratory

Targeting CD11b to reduce Tumor Growth

Infiltration of Tumor Associated Macrophages (TAMs) and other CD11b+ cells into tumor microenvironment is associated with tumor growth, metastases and reduced anti-tumor T-cell response. We are utilizing our newly discovered CD11b agonists in multiple tumor models to determine their efficacy and molecular mechanism.

Modulating CD11b activity to ameliorate lupus and lupus nephritis 

We are studying the role of integrin CD11b/CD18 in modulating innate immune response and are targeting this integrin for developing novel therapeutics against lupus and lupus nephritis. The beta2 family of integrins (CD11a/CD18, CD11b/CD18, CD11c/CD18 and CD11d/CD18) are key to the biological function of leukocytes and mediate leukocyte adhesion and migration to the sites of inflammation. We have identified a number of small molecules that modulate the ligand-binding function of beta2 integrins. Detailed in vitro and in vivo characterization of these compounds is currently underway. In addition to being useful as therapeutics, the newly discovered molecules also serve as novel chemical biology probes to study the effects of functional modulation of integrins in vivo and to study the mechanism of integrin activation.


Figure Legend: 3D ribbon model of integrin CD11b/CD18 (Mac-1, αMβ2).

Podocyte Cell-Based High Content Screening for identification of novel reno-protective compounds

We recently developed a novel, phenotypic assay using kidney podocytes. We are utilizing this assay for the discovery and development of novel podocyte protective agents for use as novel therapeutics against chronic kidney disease.

Discovery of Novel Therapeutics via High-throughput Screening

We have a strong interest in identifying novel agents as potential therapeutics using high throughput, high content screening methodologies. Towards that end, we have developed a number of novel cell-based assays and technologies in the laboratory and are using them to screen compound collections. We have recently identified compounds that allosterically modulate function of leukocytic integrins.


Figure Legend: HTS Assay.Example photomicrographs from a 384-well plate assay showing cells remaining adherent upon completion of the no-wash cell adhesion assay. Cells were transferred to wells coated with an increasing amount of Fg and incubated in buffer containing either Ca2+ and Mg2+ (1 mM of each) or 1 mM Mn2+ for 20 min at 37 °C. Nonadherent cells were allowed to detach by gentle inversion of the plates, and the adherent cells were fixed with 1.1% formaldehyde. After washing the plate with the automated plate washer and staining cells with DAPI, cells were imaged using an automated microscope. The amount of Fg used to coat the wells is indicated. Cell adhesion to the uncoated well surface is
shown (no block).

Novel Technologies for Molecular Diagnostics in Resource-Poor Settings

Another focus in the laboratory is towards development of novel assays and techniques for rapid, low-cost detection of infectious agents that are applicable in a low-resource setting. We have developed novel methods for DNA/RNA amplification that would allow for ready, multiplexed detection of multiple species using existing diagnostic systems and technologies and are currently optimizing these assays.

Protein-Protein interaction Networks and Signaling Pathways

In collaboration with Professor Mitsu Ogihara in the Department of Computer Science at University of Miami and with Professor M. J. Zaki, Professor of Computer Science and Bioinformatics at RPI, we are performing extensive modeling of a number of proteomics datasets (including some generated in our lab) to determine protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks in a variety of human cells and to devise new computational approaches for determining biologically relevant modules, dynamic changes in the PPI networks upon changes in cellular state and specific signaling pathways and their components.

Novel DNA-based nanomoters.

In this project area we are investigating applications of unique DNA and RNA sequences for producing novel structures (some self-assembling) and assemblies. We are also attempting to create DNA-templated nanoassembly and other nanomotors. Additionally, we are attempting to generate novel biologicals using the principles of Synthetic Biology.


Figure Legend: Three-dimensional model of a single-stranded DNA circle.


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