The immunology cluster at ICGEB comprises three Groups in New Delhi (Structural Immunology – Salunke; Cellular Immunology – Kumar; Immunobiology – Dwivedi) and one Group in Trieste (Cellular Immunology – Benvenuti) with complementary interests in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the immune response to pathogens and cancer. The Benvenuti Group focus is on phagocytes and the processes that occur during the initial phases of immune responses against pathogens, tumors and autoimmune responses. The group employs in vivo models and multiparametric flow cytometric to dissect the complexity and function of phagocytes in tissues complemented by ex-vivo imaging for mechanistic analysis of intracellular trafficking in phagocytes. The Structural Immunology Group has a long-standing interest in structural aspects of antibody-antigen recognition and has discovered key principles of molecular mimicry and evolution of the antibody responses to maintain self/non-self discrimination. The Kumar Group has a strong background in Mycobacterium host pathogen interaction and investigates changes in intracellular trafficking and gene expression in infected macrophages.
Recent discoveries from the Structural Immunology group have shed light on T cell receptor conformational changes and the structure of the structure of MP-4 from Mucuna pruriensactivity (Abha, J 2020, Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun; Shikhi, M, 2020 BBRC). A recent study from the Cellular Immunology Group in Delhi showed unveiled that Mycobacterium can survive in mesenchymal stem cells protected from the action of drugs (Jain, N 2020, Nat Commun). The Cellular Immunology Group in Trieste unveiled the role of actin polymerization during cGAS-STING responses to self-DNA (Piperno et al, 2020, JCI Insight).