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Immunology (Vaccines and Immunomodulation)

Contact Address:

Institute of Microbial Technology (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research), Sector 39A, Chandigarh-160036, INDIA. Email:,, Tel: ++91-172-6665261 (O), 6665262 (Lab), Fax: ++91-172-2690632, 2690585, 2690132, 2690056.

Write-up of research and development interests/focus, past and present goals:

Host-pathogen relationships are characterized by the complex interplay between host defense mechanisms and attempts to circumvent these defenses by microorganisms. Macrophages and T cells play key roles in host defense in the recognition and elimination of microorganisms. Our studies and from other groups have generated an evidence that costimulatory molecules play a potential role in immmuno-suppression in leprosy patients, also a mycobacterial disease (Agrewala et al. 1998). Recently, we have also provided a novel insight into the mechanism whereby signaling through costimulatory molecules could deliver regulatory signals. We demonstrated that the delivery of costimulatory signals by antigen presenting cells (APC) not only activates T cells but may also influence the APC itself (Agrewala et al. 1994, 1998, Suvas et al. 2002). We observed that signaling of B cells through B7-2 costimulatory molecule enhanced its proliferation and production of antibodies and augmented the level of anti-apoptotic molecules and decreased the levels of pro-apoptotic molecule. In contrast, triggering through B7-1 could efficiently block the proliferation and production of antibodies by B cells and could retard their growth and favored the up-regulation of pro-apoptotic molecules.

Our current research interest is in microbial pathogenesis in diseases like tuberculosis where a coordinated cross-talk between macrophages and T cells is essential for protection and wish to explore the following problems: (i) eventhough immunity is highly efficacious in preventing disease but is extraordinarily inefficient in terminating infection; (ii) why only 5-10% of the infected individuals develop active tuberculosis and the remaining 90% impart effective immunity against the M. tuberculosis; (iii) why macrophages play a “dual role” by providing protection to host as well as survival of the bacteria; (iv) what factors make the relationship between M. tuberculosis and host immunity labile, converting infection into clinical disease; (v) what are the regulatory signals delivered by the infected macrophages to effector T cells and in return what signals are transmitted by effector T cells to macrophages. This study would provide insights not only into mechanisms of pathogenesis but may also suggest targets for therapeutic intervention.

Significant recognition: Awards, fellowships, international funding of distinction, technologies transferred/licensed etc.:


  • Fellow-Indian National Science Academy
  • Fellow-Indian Academy of Sciences
  • Fellow-National Academy of Sciences India

  • National Bioscience Award for Career Development

  • New Idea Research Talent Award

  • Regular Member-American Association of Immunologists

  • Visiting Scientist: MRC-TB Unit, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London

  • Visiting Scientist: Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, New York

  • Biotechnology Overseas Associateship, DBT, India


Member Editorial Board/Associate Editor/Reviewer

PLoS One, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, BMC Immunology, Recent Patents on Anti-Infective Drug Discovery, Amino Acids, Eur J Immunol, J Neuroimmunol,  Infection Immunity, Clin Exp Immunol,  Inflammation Res, J Infect Dis, J Bac, J Proteome Res, Immunology, Vaccine, Cancer Lett, Microbiol Immunol, J Med Microbiol, Brain Behaviour Immunity, Int Immunopharmacol, Hematologia, Exp Parasitol, Polish J Food Nutr Sci, Adv Applied Res, Current Science, J Bioscience, etc.



Caerulomycin A as an immunosuppressive agent [Patent Application No. 2465DEL2005]. Licensed a technology on immunosuppressive molecule for 3 million US dollars [INR 15 crore] to the USA based company on February 15, 2009 [Team: Dr. Javed N Agrewala: Immunologist, Dr. RM Jolly: Chemist, Dr. RM Vohra: Microbiologist].


Selected list of Publications and Patents:

  1. PLoS One
    . 20:2017:e0173769. [IF: 3.2]. Antibody response against PhoP
    efficiently discriminates among healthy individuals, tuberculosis patients and
    their contacts. Vidyarthi A, Khan N, Agnihotri T, Siddiqui KF, Nair GR, Arora
    A, Janmeja AK, Agrewala JN.
  2. Crit Rev Microbiol. 1:2016:1 [IF: 8.2]. T cell exhaustion in tuberculosis:
    pitfalls and prospects. Khan N, Vidyarthi A, Amir M, Mushtaq K, Agrewala
  3. Front Immunol. 7:2016:529 [IF: 5.7]. Alteration in the gut microbiota
    provokes susceptibility to tuberculosis. Khan N,  Vidyarthi A, Nadeem
    S,  Negi S,  Nair G, Agrewala JN.
  4. Front Immunol. 7:2016:386 [IF: 5.7]. Stimulation through CD40 and TLR-4 is an
    effective host directed therapy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
    Khan N, Pahari S, Vidyarthi A, Aqdas M, Agrewala JN.
  5. Scientific Reports. 6:2016:27263 [IF: 5.6]. NOD-2 Signaling Differentiates
    Bone Marrow Precursors to Dendritic Cells with Potent Bactericidal activity. Khan
    N, Aqdas M, Vidyarthi A, Negi S, Pahari S, Agnihotri T, Agrewala JN.
  6. Scientific Reports. 2016 Apr 7;6:23917 [IF: 5.6]. A novel
    therapeutic strategy of lipidated promiscuous peptide against Mycobacterium
    tuberculosis by eliciting Th1 and Th17 immunity of host. Rai PK, Chodisetti SB,
    Nadeem S, Maurya SK, Gowthaman U, Zeng W, Janmeja AK, Jackson DC, Agrewala
  7. Scientific Reports. 6:2016:39492. [IF: 5.6]. Infergen stimulated
    macrophages restrict Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth by
    autophagy and release of nitric oxide. Pahari S, Khan N, Aqdas M, Negi S, Kaur
    J, Agrewala JN.
  8. J Infect Dis. 211:2015:486 [IF: 6.3]. Triggering through TLR-2 limits
    chronically stimulated Th1 cells from undergoing exhaustion. Chodisetti SB,
    Gowthaman U, Rai PK, Vidyarthi A, Khan N, Agrewala JN.
  9. J Biol Chem. 289:2014:17515-28 [IF: 4.8]. Caerulomycin A enhances the
    TGF-β-Smad3 signalling by suppressing IFN-γ-STAT1 signalling to expand Tregs.
    Gurram RK, Kujur W, Maurya SK, Agrewala JN. 
  10. J Infect Dis.  209:2014:1436-45 [IF: 6.3]. Latency Associated
    Protein Acr1 Impairs Dendritic Cells Maturation and Functionality: A Possible
    Mechanism of Immune Evasion by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Siddiqui KF, Amir M,
    Gurram RK, Khan N, Arora A, K Rajagopal, Agrewala JN.
  11. Crit Rev Microbiol. 2014 Feb 4. [IF: 6.2]. Challenges and Solutions for a
    Rational Vaccine Design for TB-endemic Regions, Gowthaman U, Mushtaq K, Tan AC,
    Rai PK, Jackson DC, Agrewala JN.
  12. Crit Rev Microbiol. 40:2014:273-280. [IF: 6.2]. Friendly Pathogens: Prevent or
    Provoke Autoimmunity. Sathybama S, Khan N, Agrewala JN.
  13. J Biol Chem. 288: 2013:29987-99 [IF: 4.8]. Truncated hemoglobin, HbN,
    is post-translationally modified in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and modulates
    host-pathogen interactions during intracellular infection. Arya S, Sethi D,
    Singh S, Hade MD, Singh V, Raju P, Chodisetti SB, Verma D, Varshney GC,
    Agrewala JN, Dikshit KL.
  14. Trends Mol Medicine. 18:2012:607-14. [IF: 11.05]. Lipidated promiscuous
    peptides vaccine for tuberculosis endemic regions. Gowthaman U, Rai PK, Khan N,
    Jackson D, Agrewala JN.
  15. PLoS Pathogens. 8:2012:e1002676. [IF: 9.23]. Manipulation of costimulatory
    molecules by intracellular pathogens: veni, vidi, vici. Khan N, Gowthaman U,
    Pahari S, Agrewala JN.
  16. J Immunol. 188:2012:5593. [IF: 5.8]. M. tuberculosis modulates
    macrophage lipid-sensing nuclear receptors PPARγ and TR4 for survival. Mahajan
    S, Dkhar KH, Chandra V, Dave S, Nanduri R, Janmeja AK, Agrewala JN, Gupta
  17. J Infect Dis. 204:2011:1328-38. [IF: 6.3]. Promiscuous peptide of 16 kDa
    antigen linked to Pam2Cys protects against M. tuberculosis by evoking enduring
    memory T cells response. Gowthaman U, Singh V, Zeng W, Jain S, Siddiqui KF,
    Chodisetti SB, Gurram RK, Parihar P, Gupta P, Gupta UD, Jackson DC, Agrewala
  18. Crit Rev Microbiol. 37:2011:349-57 [IF: 6.27]. Understanding the biology of 16
    kDa antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: scope in diagnosis, vaccine design
    and therapy. Siddiqui KF, Amir M,Agrewala JN.
  19. J Infect Dis. 202:2010:480-9 [IF: 6.3]. Coadministration of IL-7 and
    IL-15 with BCG mount enduring T cell memory response against M. tuberculosis.
    Singh V, Gowthaman U, Jain S, Parihar P, Banskar S, Gupta P, Gupta UD, Agrewala
  20. J Proteome Res. 7:2008:154-63. [IF: 7.00]. In silico tools for predicting
    peptides binding to HLA-class II molecules: more confusion than conclusion.
    Gowthaman U, Agrewala JN.
  21. J Biol Chem. 282:2007:6106-15 [IF: 7.1]. Unique ability of activated
    CD4+ T cells but not rested effectors to migrate to non-lymphoid sites in the
    absence of inflammation. Agrewala JN, Brown DM, Lepak NM, Duso D, Huston G,
    Swain SL.
  22. Immunol Rev. 211:2006:8-22 [IF: 10.8]. CD4 memory: generation and
    multi-faceted roles for CD4 T Cells in protective immunity to influenza. Swain
    SL, Agrewala JN, Brown D, Gibbs DJ, Golech S, Huston G, Jones S, Kamperschroer
    C, Lee WH, McKinstry K, Roman E, Strutt T, Weng NP.
  23. J Infect Dis. 190:2004:107-14 [IF: 6.3]. Potent role of the vaccines
    prepared from macrophages infected with live bacteria in protection against M.
    tuberculosis and S. typhimurium infections. Sharma N, Agrewala JN.
  24. J Biol Chem. 277:2002:7766-75 [IF: 7.6]. Distinct Role of CD80 and CD86
    in the regulation of the activation of B cell and B cell Lymphoma. Suvas S,
    Singh, V, Sahdev, S, Vohra, H, Agrewala, JN. 
  25. Eur J Immunol. 29:1999:1753-61 [IF: 5.6]. Influence of HLA-DR on the
    phenotype of CD4+ T lymphocytes specific for an epitope of the 16-kD
    α-crystalline antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Agrewala JN, Wilkinson RJ.
  26. J Immunol. 160:1998:1067-77 [IF: 7.2].  Differential effect of
    anti-B7-1 and anti-M150 antibodies in restricting the delivery of costimulatory
    signals from B cells and macrophages. Agrewala JN, Suvas S, Verma RK, Mishra
  27. Eur J Immunol. 24:1994:2092-7 [IF: 6.0]. A 150-kDa molecule of murine
    macrophage membrane stimulates interleukin-2 and interferon-g production and
    proliferation of ovalbumin-specific CD4+ T cells. Agrewala JN, Vinay DS, Joshi
    A, Mishra GC.
  28. J Immunol. 153:1994:1613-25 [IF: 7.4]. Antigen-specific early primary
    humoral responses modulate Immunodominance of B cell epitopes. Vijayakrishnan
    L, Kumar V, Agrewala JN, Mishra GC, Rao KVS.

Present group members:

  • Rajender Dass, MSc (Sr Technical Officer)
  • Gurpreet Kaur, PhD (RA)
  • Junaid Khan, PhD (NPDF)
  • Susanta Pahari, MSc (SRF)
  • Sajid Nadeem, MSc (SRF)
  • Sajid Zilli, MSc (SRF)
  • Sudeep Maurya, MSc (SRF)
  • Mohammad Aqdas, MSc (SRF)
  • Shikha Negi, MSc (SRF)
  • Shikha Sharma, MSc (SPF)
  • Kanu Priya, MSc (SPF)
  • Deepayan Chatterjee, MSc (SPF)
  • Gurkirat Kaur, MSc (PF)
  • Sanpreet Singh, MSc (JRF)
  • Hilal Bashir, MSc (JRF)
  • Rajnish Kumar (LA)

Past group members:

  • Susmit Suva, PhD
  • Vinod Singh, PhD
  • Naresh Sharma, PhD
  • V Raghavendra, PhD
  • Arvind K Singla, PhD
  • Manzoor Ahmed, PhD
  • Sameer Sharma, PhD
  • Vijender Singh, PhD
  • Shweta Jain, PhD
  • Uthaman Gowthaman, PhD
  • Kaneez Fatima Siddiqui, PhD
  • Gurram Ramakrishna, PhD
  • Sathibabu Chodisetti, PhD
  • Nargis Khan, PhD
  • Pradeep K Rai, PhD
  • M Air, PhD
  • Aurobind Vidyarthi, PhD
  • Weshely Kujur, PhD
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