Rimjhim Agarwal

Investigating the Mechanism of NLRP1 Inflammasome Activation by Dengue Virus Protease

Dengue virus (DENV) is the leading cause of death in dengue-endemic areas. An infection resulting from DENV can manifest as serious human disease, such as Dengue hemorrhagic fever or Dengue shock syndrome. Currently there is no effective vaccine to prevent the infection. My project seeks to understand critical host-virus interactions between DENV and multi-protein innate immune cytosolic complexes called inflammasomes, which initiate downstream proinflammatory signaling. Inflammasomes are typically thought to detect pathogen-encoded ligands. In contrast, NLRP1the focus of this proposaldetects protease activity. I will be focusing on the molecular determinants of human NLRP1 sensing of the DENV NS2B3 protease, and how this recognition event leads to inflammasome activation. A full understanding of the molecular events leading to DENV-mediated activation of the NLRP1 inflammasome is crucial to developing improved mouse models to study host immunity and pathogenesis in the setting of in vivo DENV infection.

Message to Sponsor

I truly appreciate this opportunity to conduct independent research over the summer. This experience has allowed me to expand my knowledge and refine my scientific interests. I am more confident in my ability to conduct independent research and also share it with others. I would genuinely like to thank my mentors, the SURF program, and the Pergo Foundation for providing all the support.
  • Major: MCB-Infectious Diseases
  • Sponsor: Pergo Fund
  • Mentor: Russell Vance