Dr. Sujatha Narayanan Sujatha Narayanan 2  
Scientist F (Deputy Director [Senior Grade])
Department of Immunology
Tuberculosis Research Centre
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Dr. Narayanan initiated a collaborative program with Dr. William Jacobs' Laboratory at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The collaboration was based on functional Genomics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis serine/threonine kinases. Two of her graduate students, Radha Gopalaswami (at present a post doctoral fellow with Yossef Avgay at University of British Columbia, Canada) and Deepak Jayakumar (presently a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Howard Steinman, Albert Einstein College of Medicine) were trained and succeeded in creating deletion mutants of PknI and PknE gene respectively. Subsequent to his training at Einstein AITRP, Jayakumar characterized the mutated gene immunologically at TRC and found that Pkn E plays an important role in the apoptosis and thus enabling the intracellular survival of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Gopalaswami, the other graduate student who was also trained at Einstein AITRP completed the functional characterization, after her return to TRC and partly at University of British Columbia in Dr. Yossef Avgay's laboratory. She found that PknI plays a role in the cell morphology and cell division of M. tuberculosis. The collaboration between the two laboratories has led to the generation of two high wuality doctoral theses to the University of Madras. The technology transfer to TRC was very successful because recently another gene DacB2 was knocked out at TRC using the allelic exchange method introduced by Dr. William Jacobs. The collaboration is continuing. Two more of Dr. Sujatha Narayanan’s students, Malini Veerasamy and Neema Bourai arrived at Einstein for AITRP training in 2009. Ms. Bourai has already returned and Ms. Veerasamy is still in residence. This collaboration has led to capacity building at TRC in the areas of gene knockout in M. tuberculosis.

Dr Sujatha Narayanan was a member of the organizing committee of a major in-country AITRP symposium in India in 2007, which was attended by more than 100 participants.

Following Papers were Published Jointly:
  1. Jayakumar D, Jacobs WR Jr, Sujatha Narayanan. (2008) Protein kinase E of Mycobacterium tuberculosis has a role in the nitric oxide stress response and apoptosis in a human macrophage model of infection. Cell Microbiol. 10:365–374.
  2. Gopalaswamy R, Sujatha Narayanan, Jacobs WR Jr, Av-Gay Y. (2008) Mycobacterium smegmatis biofilm formation and sliding motility are affected by the serine/threonine protein kinase PknF. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 278:121–127.
  3. Gopalaswamy R, Narayanan Sujatha. Jacobs, William Chen, Bing; Av-Gay, Yossef (2009) The Serine/Threonine kinase PknI controls the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis upon infection. FEMS Microbiol Lett. –In press

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