Ritu Gaur
Professor
Faculty of Life Sciences and Biotechnology (FLSB)

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Profile

WORK EXPERIENCE AND APPOINTMENTS

1. Associate Dean: South Asian University, New Delhi, February (2018-2019)
2. Associate Professor (Senior Grade): South Asian University, New Delhi (July 2016 -Present)
3. Associate Professor: South Asian University, New Delhi (July 2012- July 2016)
4. Assistant Professor: South Asian University, New Delhi (May 2011- July 2012)
5. Assistant Professor: Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi (April 2009- May 2011)
6. Research Fellow: Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, NIAID, NIH, USA (Jan 2006- March 2009)
7. Post-doctoral Fellow: Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, NIAID, NIH, USA (Oct 2001- Dec 2005)

RESEARCH INTERESTS 

Host – Pathogen interactions in HIV and development of antivirals

Replication of all viruses depends to a large degree on specific host factors, from the recognition of specific cell surface receptors required for virus entry into a target cell to the packaging of cellular factors into virions. The molecular mechanism that dictate these interactions are poorly understood. My group is currently focussing on studying on identifying and characterizing novel antivirals against HIV and understanding the role of host proteins on HIV replication.

Basic Research:

On the basic front, our research contributions have advanced our basic understanding of the HIV assembly process and molecular mechanisms that underlie the interaction between the HIV viral infectivity protein (Vif) and the host cellular proteins belonging to the APOBEC3 family (A3G and A3F), which function as HIV host restriction factors (Virology 2018; J. General Virology, 2018; Virology, 2007; Retrovirology, 2007; Virology, 2008; J. Virol, 2009; PLoS One 2012).

Our research has demonstrated that in addition to its anti-HIV activity, human A3B protein has a dual role in developing multiple forms of cancer where it was found to be highly upregulated. The mechanism of upregulation of A3B in cancer was not known. Our group has identified a key cellular protein hnRNPA3 as an interacting partner of A3G, which may serve as a potential candidate for targeted intervention in cancer cells (J Cell Biochem, 2018).

We have also identified that an important cellular protein COX7A is involved in cellular proliferation in lung cancers.  We have demonstrated that low levels of COX7A1 gene expression is essential to regulate cell viability and inhibit cell death in lung adenocarcinomas These results strongly suggest that the novel COX7A1 protein plays a crucial role in the etiology of lung adenocarcinoma and is a promising biomarker for analyzing lung cancer disease progression (BBRC 2017).

We have recently identified the important role of a specific potassium ions family in HIV entry (Scientific Reports 2019)


Applied/Translational Research:

On the applied front, our research has significantly advanced our understanding of a new class of HIV antivirals termed as Maturation Inhibitors, of which she had discovered the mechanism of action of a first-in-class maturation inhibitor Bevirimat (PNAS, 2003). We have further characterized these anti-HIV compounds on multiple worldwide HIV subtypes and substantiated them as promising candidates for their clinical development as anti-HIV therapeutics (Scientific Reports 2016; Scientific Reports 2017).


The first-in-class maturation inhibitor Bevirimat reached phase II clinical trials, but was ineffective against a certain group of HIV-1 subtype C viruses having Gag polymorphisms and that are highly prevalent in India and Africa. In key advancements, we have further identified novel Bevirimat analogs and other compounds with enhanced potency against all major HIV subtypes (Scientific Reports 2016; Scientific Reports 2017; Virology 2018).

My research group has further identified and characterized the mechanism of resistance obtained against maturation inhibitors (Journal of Virology, 2018). The Maturation Inhibitors developed by our team will add to the repertoire of drugs currently used for anti-HIV/AIDS HAART therapy. In this regard, we have established collaborations with industrial partners, DFH Pharma, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Pfizer, USA and Hetero Drugs, Hyderabad, India and has plan to initiate clinical trials with the lead compounds in the near future.

In another major discovery, my group has identified and characterized the activity of Proteasome inhibitors as a novel class of HIV latency reversal agents, which can reactivate HIV and lead to production of non-infectious virus particle. Her group has elucidated the mechanism of action of these compounds and observed an important role of APOBEC proteins in production of non-infectious viruses (Journal of General Virology 2018).

    In a collaborative work with Dr. Devashish Sengupta in Assam University, Silchar, we have elucidated the role of amphiphilic Zn(II) nitroporphyrin derivatives as HIV-1 entry inhibitors (European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2019)

 

Qualifications

  • PhD in Life Science from National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi , in 2001
  • M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi , in 1996

Awards & Honours

  • Served as Associate Dean (Feb 2018-2019).
  • Recipient of several National and International Grants
  • NIH Performance Award in recognition and appreciation of special achievement., in 2007 & 2008
  • NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence in the field of AIDS Basic Research., in 2007

Recent Publications

  • Sengupta D, Timilsina U, Mazumder ZH, Mukherjee A, Ghimire D, Markandey M, Upadhyaya K, Sharma D, Mishra N, Jha T, Basu S, Gaur R* (2019) Dual activity of amphiphilic Zn(II) nitroporphyrin derivatives as HIV-1 entry inhibitors and in cancer photodynamic therapy. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (Impact factor 4.83). Apr 20;174:66-75. doi: 10.1016/

  • Dubey RC, Mishra N, Gaur R. (2019) G protein-coupled and ATP-sensitive inwardly rectifying potassium ions channels are essential for HIV entry. Scientific Reports (Impact factor 4.1). 2019 Mar 11;9(1):4113. doi: 10.1038

  • Mishra N, Reddy S, Timilsina U, Gaur D and Gaur R* (2018) Human APOBEC3B interacts with the heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A3 in cancer cells. Journal of cellular Biochemistry. Aug;119(8):6695-6703 (Impact factor 3.446) * Corresponding author

  • Timilsina U, Ghimire D, Adhikari LP, Bhattarai A, Mishra N, Rai M, Dubey RC, Gaur R* (2018) Maturation inhibitors facilitate virus assembly and release of HIV-1 capsid P224 mutant. Virology. Jun 4;521:44-50. (Impact factor 3.37) * Corresponding author

  • Ghimire D, Rai M, Gaur R*. (2018) Novel host restriction factors implicated in HIV-1 replication. Journal of General Virology. Apr;99(4):435-446. (Impact factor 3.18) * Corresponding author

  • Emiko Urano#, Uddhav Timilsina#, Justin Kaplan, Sherimay Ablan, Dibya Ghimire, Carl T. Wild, Ritu Gaur*, and Eric O. Freed* (2018) Resistance to second-generation HIV-1 Maturation Inhibitors. Journal of Virology (Impact factor 4.66 ) Dec 19, pii: JVI.02017-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02017-18.
    * Corresponding author

  • Timilsina U, Ghimire D, Sharma S and Gaur R* (2018) Role of APOBEC3 proteins in Proteasome inhibitor-mediated reactivation of latent HIV-1 viruses. Journal of General Virology (Impact factor 3.18). Dec 19. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.001205. * Corresponding author

  • Ghimire D, Timilsina U, Srivastava T and Gaur R* (2017) Insights into the activity of maturation inhibitor PF-46396 on HIV-1 clade C. Nature Scientific Reports March 2, 7: 43711. (Impact factor: 5.58) * Corresponding author

  • Mishra N, Timilsina U, Ghimire D, Dubey RC, Gaur R* (2016) Downregulation of cytochrome c oxidase subunit 7A1 expression is important in enhancing cell proliferation in adenocarcinoma cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. Nov 17. (Impact factor: 2.46) *Corresponding author

  • Timilsina U, Ghimire D, Timalsina B, Nitz TJ, Wild C, Freed EO and Gaur R* (2016).. Identification of potent maturation inhibitors against HIV clade C Nature Scientific Reports 6, 27403. (Impact factor: 5.58) *Corresponding author

  • Timilsina U and Gaur R*. (2016) Modulation of apoptosis and viral latency- an axis to be well understood for successful cure of HIV. Journal of General Virology, Apr;97(4):813-24. (Impact factor: 3.18) *Corresponding author

  • Gaur R* and Strebel K.  (2012) New Insights into the Activity of SIVmac239 Vif against Human and African Green Monkey APOBEC3G. Plos One;7(11). (Impact factor: 3.234) *Corresponding author

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