DEPARTMENT OF PATHOLOGY

Soumita Das, Ph.D.

Soumita Das, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor
  • PhD: Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, India
  • Postdoc: University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas
  • Research Instructor: University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Research Interests

Our major focus is on the differential host responses following interaction with the gut microbiota and pathogenic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. The expertise of the lab is biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, microbial pathogenesis and mucosal immunology. The three major research areas are:

  1. Innate responses following infection with enteric microbes: Bacterial recognition by host cells is fundamental for the initiation of mucosal immune responses. Previously we have identified, Brain Angiogenesis Inhibitor-1 (BAI1) as a Pattern Recognition Receptor that binds Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide. BAI1 interacts with ELMO1 (Engulfment and Cell motility protein 1) that facilitates bacterial engulfment and intestinal inflammation. Our latest research shows that ELMO1 interacts specifically with a Salmonella effector present only in pathogens and generates differential immune responses after encountering pathogen vs non-pathogenic commensals. We also observed that ELMO1 interacts with the late endosomal marker and modifies innate immune responses. The central hypothesis is that the cross talk between bacterial effector molecules, ELMO1, and the host endocytic pathway regulates innate immune responses following engulfment. We will focus on how ELMO1 contributes to microbial sensing and inflammation that modulates the endocytic pathway during innate immune responses.
  2. ELMO1 & MCP-1: a predictive marker for inflammatory diseases: In a pilot study with UCSD Clinical Trial and Research Institute, we found that in Crohn’s disease (CD) intestinal specimens, ELMO1 and CCL2/MCP-1 (Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1) are upregulated. MCP-1 is a potent chemoattractant for monocytes and in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). It may promote immune cells to secrete pro-inflammatory mediators and induce chronic intestinal inflammation. Infecting the stem cell based enteroid model (from humans and mice), we will study the role of epithelial-immune cells cross talk, responsible for inflammation and metabolic diseases.
  3. The Potential Role of DNA damage and Repair in infection/inflammation-associated Colorectal Carcinoma: Colorectal cancer is (CRC) the third leading cause of cancer related deaths in United States and worldwide. DNA damage and mutation play a significant role in the progression of cancer. Using Fusobacterium as model bacteria, both base excision repair and mismatch repair will be studied in human colonic specimens. The broad significance is to demonstrate how the bacterial infection and environmental stress in the colon affect inflammation and host DNA repair leading to mutagenesis and cancer development.

Representative Publications

  1. Hartog Den G, Chattopadhyay R., Ablack A, Hall E, Butcher L.D., Bhattacharyya A, Eckmann L, Harris PR, Das S, Ernst PB, Crowe S. Regulation of Rac1and reactive oxygen species production in response to infection of gastrointestinal epithelia. Plos Pathogens Jan 13; 12(1):e1005382, 2016. PMID: 26761793.
  2. Das S, Sarkar A, Sinha Choudhury S, Owen KA, Castillo V, Fox S, Eckmann L, Elliott MR, Casanova JE, Ernst PB. ELMO1 has an essential role in the internalization of Salmonella Typhimurium into enteric macrophages that impacts disease outcome. Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, May; Vol 1, Issue 3, Pages 311-324 (2015). (Cover page) PMID: 26878033. Editorial: ELMO1: More Than Just a Director of Phagocytosis, McCormick B. A., page 262–263, May, 2015.
  3. Das S*, Sarkar A*, Ryan KA*, Fox S, Hawley AH, Juncadella IJ, Bimczok D, Smythies LE, Harris PR, Ravichandran KS, Crowe SE, Smith PD, Ernst PB. Brain Angiogenesis Inhibitor 1 (BAI1) is Expressed by Gastric Phagocytes during Infection with Helicobacter pylori and Mediates the Recognition and Engulfment of Human Apoptotic Gastric Epithelial Cells (*Contributed equally). The FASEB Journal, May; 28(5):2214-24 (2014). PMID: 24509909. 
  4. Mauldin JP, Lu M, Das S, Park D, Ernst PB, Ravichandran KS. A link between the cytoplasmic engulfment protein Elmo1 and the Mediator complex subunit Med31. Current Biology. Jan 21; 23(2):162-7 (2013). PMID:23273896.
  5. Bimczok D, Smythies LE, Waites KB, Grams JM, Stahl RD, Mannon PJ, Shajan P, Wilcox CM, Harris PR, Das S, Ernst PB, Smith PD. H. pylori infection inhibits phagocyte clearance of apoptotic gastric epithelial cells. J. Immunol, Jun 15; 190(12):6626-34 (2013). PMID: 23686492.
  6. Park D, Han CZ, Elliott MR, Kinchen JM, Trampont PC, Das S, Collins S, Lysiak JJ, Hoehn KL, Ravichandran KS. Continued clearance of apoptotic cells critically depends on the phagocyte Ucp2 protein. Nature. Aug 21; 477(7363):220-4 (2011). PMID: 21857682.
  7. Das S, Owen KA, Ly K, Park D, Black SG, Wilson JM, Sifri CD, Ravichandran KS,  Ernst PB  and Casanova JE. BAI1 (Brain Angiogenesis Inhibitor 1) is a novel pattern recognition receptor that mediates binding and engulfment of Gram-negative bacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 1;108(5):2136-41 (2011). PMID: 21245295.
  8. Chattopadhyay R, Das S, Maiti AK, Boldogh I, Xie J, Hazra TK, Kohno K, Mitra S, Bhakat KK. Regulatory Role of Human AP-endonuclease (APE1/Ref-1) in YB-1-Mediated Activation of Multi Drug Resistance (MDR1) Gene. Mol Cell Biol. Dec; 28(23):7066-80 (2008). PMID: 18809583.
  9. Das S, Chattopadhyay R, Bhakat KK, Boldogh I, Kohno K, Prasad R, Wilson SH, Hazra TK. Stimulation of NEIL2-mediated oxidized base repair via YB-1 interaction during oxidative stress. J Biol Chem. Sep 28; 282(39):28474-84. (2007). PMID: 17686777.
  10. Das S, Suarez G, Beswick EJ, Sierra JC, Graham DY, Reyes VE.  Expression of B7-H1 on gastric epithelial cells: its potential role in regulating T cells during Helicobacter pylori infection. Journal of Immunology; 175 (5): 3000-9. March 1 (2006). PMID: 1649305.
  11. Das S, Sierra JC, Soman KV, Suarez G, Mohammad AA, Dang TA, Luxon BA, Reyes VE. Differential protein expression profiles of gastric epithelial cells following Helicobacter pylori infection using Protein Chips. Journal of Proteome Research; 4(3):920-30. (2005). PMID: 15952739
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