S Mahalingam

Professor

Ph.D, Madurai Kamaraj University
M.Sc, Madurai Kamaraj University

Room No. BT 403
Tel:91-44-2257-4130
mahalingam@iitm.ac.in
Dept of Biotechnology
IIT Madras


Research Interest
Lab Website
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Honors and Awards

Research Interests

1.Molecular pathogenesis of HIV

In a factory, someone has to stand on the loading dock, checking the goods going out. By recognizing labels like bar codes on each shipment, the loading dock supervisor makes sure that the products get where they are supposed to go. A cell is like a factory: one of its most important jobs is to produce proteins, like transcription factors and nuclear transport receptors. But in cellular factories, the sorting task is complicated by the fact that proteins are used by the cell itself as well as delivered to outside "customers". Scientists are succeeding at deciphering the cell's complex bar-coding system. But, surprisingly, they have never managed to get at the loading dock itself to see how HIV PICs are actually shipped to their destinations.

Regulation of HIV-1 infectivity and pathogenesis of AIDS remain central interests of the laboratory. Unlike the typical animal-oncoretroviruses, lentiviruses such as HIV have the ability to infect and replicate within non-cycling cells. Nucleo-cytoplasmic transport of the viral genome is vital for the replication and assembly of many viruses. Nuclear transport of Human immunodeficiency viral (HIV) genome, for instance, is critical for productive infection in non-dividing cells such as human macrophages. Our understanding on the nuclear import of HIV preintegration complexes into the nucleus of non-dividing cells remains rudimentary, and identification of cellular protein(s) which interact with viral PICs is eagerly awaited and will reveal cellular system that are important to diverse and basic cellular processes. Our laboratory will focus on two issues: mechanism of HIV PICs nuclear import, and signals in PICs that regulate its nuclear import. To achieve this goal we will clone and characterize the host genes that are involved in this process. We will also attempt to identify how the host genes interact with viral proteins to bring about the events of HIV pathogenesis. Furthermore, a better understanding of nuclear transport during viral infection might prove useful for designing antiviral therapies and for designing delivery vectors for gene therapy, which is a rapidly developing and increasingly important area of research in biomedical sciences.

2. Regulation of nucleo-cytoplasmic transport proteins

Identification and characterization of protein nuclear transport pathways

3. Tumor biology

a. Understanding the cross talk between tumor suppressors and activators of cell proliferation
b. Understanding the role nucleolar proteins in cell proliferation and tumor development.

Career Profile

* Associate Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai(May 2007- present).

* Staff Scientist-V, Centre DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad(May 2005 – May 2007).

* Visiting Scientist, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Singapore(Aug-Dec. 2003).

* Visiting Scientist, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA(March-May 2002).

* Staff Scientist-IV, Centre DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad(Oct 2000-April 2005).

* Research Associate, University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA(1997-00).

* Research Associate, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA(1996-97).

* Postdoctoral Fellow, Thomas Jefferson Univ, Philadelphia, USA(1994-95).