Faculty Profile

Dr. Pooja Arora, Ph.D.

Pooja Arora, Ph.D.

Associate, Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Professional Interests

The cross talk between innate and adaptive immunity is a complex response that’s orchestrated by several different immune cells and their effector functions. CD1d restricted invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells play a key role in coordinating the responses of other innate and adaptive immune cells.  This ability of iNKT cells to activate other immune cells has been named “transactivation”.  Intriguingly, the iNKT cells can also dampen immune responses and display “immunoregulatory” functions. Analogs of aGC preferentially inducing transactivation also induce higher secretion of IFNγ and are called Th1-biasing agents.  In contrast, the analogs inducing immunoregulatory responses stimulate higher levels of IL-4 and related cytokines, and are called Th2-biasing agonists.  My work showed that the extent of lipid raft localization correlates with the Th1-bias in immune response.  My work also identified CD8αPos subset of DCs as the main APC for all forms of αGC agonists tested, regardless of the type of iNKT cell response they elicit.  


Selected Publications


PUBLICATIONS (*Equal Contribution)

  1. Kharkwal SS*, Arora P*, Porcelli SA. Glycolipid activators of invariant NKT cells as vaccine adjuvants. Immunogenetics. 2016 Aug;68(8):597-610.
  2. Arora P, Porcelli SA. An Efficient and High Yield Method for Isolation of Mouse Dendritic Cell Subsets. J Vis Exp. 2016 Apr 18;(110):e53824.
  3. Arora P*, Kharkwal SS*, Ng TW, Kunnath-Velayudhan S, Saini NK, Johndrow CT, Chang YT, Besra GS, Porcelli SA. Endocytic pH regulates cell surface localization of glycolipid antigen loaded CD1d complexes. Chem Phys Lipids. 2015 Oct;191:75-83.
  4. Arora P, BaenaA, YuKO, SainiNK, Kharkwal SS, GoldbergMF, Kunnath-VelayudhanS, CarreñoLJ, VenkataswamyMM, KimJ, Lazar-MolnarE, LauvauG, Chang YT, Liu Z, Bittman R, Al-Shamkhani A, Cox LR, Jervis PJ, Veerapen N, Besra GS, Porcelli, SA.  A single subset of dendritic cells controls the cytokine bias of natural killer T cell responses to diverse glycolipid antigens. Immunity. 2014 Jan 16;40(1):105-16
  5. Arora P, Foster EL, Porcelli SA. CD1d and natural killer T cells in immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;783:199-223.
  6. Tyznik AJ, Farber E, Girardi E, Birkholz A, Li Y, Chitale S, So R, Arora P, Khurana A, Wang J, Porcelli SA, Zajonc DM, Kronenberg M, Howell AR. Glycolipids that elicit IFN-γ-biased responses from natural killer T cells. Chem Biol. 2011 Dec 23;18(12):1620-30.
  7. Arora P, Venkataswamy MM, Baena A, Bricard G, Li Q, Veerapen N, Ndonye R, Park JJ, Lee JH, Seo KC, Howell AR, Chang YT, Illarionov PA, Besra GS, Chung SK, Porcelli SA. A rapid fluorescence-based assay for classification of iNKT cell activating glycolipids. J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Apr 13;133(14):5198-201.
  8. Im JS*, Arora P*, Bricard G, Molano A, Venkataswamy MM, Baine I, Jerud ES, Goldberg MF, Baena A, Yu KO, Ndonye RM, Howell AR, Yuan W, Cresswell P, Chang YT, Illarionov PA, Besra GS, Porcelli SA. Kinetics and cellular site of glycolipid loading control the outcome of natural killer T cell activation. Immunity. 2009 Jun 19;30(6):888-98.
  9. Arora P*, Goyal A*, Natarajan VT, Rajakumara E, Verma P, Gupta R, Yousuf M, Trivedi OA, Mohanty D, Tyagi A, Sankaranarayanan R, Gokhale RS. Mechanistic and functional insights into fatty acid activation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Nat Chem Biol. 2009 Mar;5(3):166-73.
  10. Arora P, Porcelli SA. A glycan shield for bacterial sphingolipids. Chem Biol. 2008 Jul 21;15(7):642-4.
  11. Pearce MJ, Arora P, Festa RA, Butler-Wu SM, Gokhale RS, Darwin KH. Identification of substrates of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis proteasome. EMBO J. 2006 Nov 15;25(22):5423-32.
  12. Goyal A, Yousuf M, Rajakumara E, Arora P, Gokhale RS, Sankaranarayanan R. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic studies of the N-terminal domain of FadD28, a fatty-acyl AMP ligase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun. 2006 Apr 1;62(Pt 4):350-2.
  13. Arora P, Vats A, Saxena P, Mohanty D, Gokhale RS. Promiscuous fatty acyl CoA ligases produce acyl-CoA and acyl-SNAC precursors for polyketide biosynthesis. J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Jul 6;127(26):9388-9.
  14. Trivedi OA, Arora P, Vats A, Ansari MZ, Tickoo R, Sridharan V, Mohanty D, Gokhale RS. Dissecting the mechanism and assembly of a complex virulence mycobacterial lipid. Mol Cell. 2005 Mar 4;17(5):631-43.
  15. Trivedi OA, Arora P, Sridharan V, Tickoo R, Mohanty D, Gokhale RS. Enzymic activation and transfer of fatty acids as acyl-adenylates in mycobacteria. Nature. 2004 Mar 25;428(6981):441-5. 

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