Nagaraj Kerur


  • BVSc, University of Agricultural Sciences
  • PhD, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science
  • Postdoc, University of Kentucky

Primary Appointment

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology


Research Interest(s)

Innate Immune Mechanisms in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Research Description

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is characterized by central vision loss which often culminates with morose consequences, such as irreversible blindness. An estimate, by the United Nations, predicts that the global population of individuals aged 60 and above will double by 2050, reflecting an unprecedented growth in the aging population that will likely have a serious ramifications for aging-associated diseases such as AMD. Our recent work demonstrated that AMD pathology is linked to hyperactivation of innate immune pathways, a feature also shared by a variety of other aging-associated degenerative diseases. Aging is the most important risk factor for AMD. However molecular details of how aging triggers innate immune pathways is unclear. The overall goal of our lab is to decipher the mechanism by which aging influences hyper-activation of innate immune pathways in AMD and aging.

Selected Publications

  • Kerur N, Fukuda S, Banerjee D, Kim Y, Fu D, Apicella I, Varshney A, Yasuma R, Fowler B, Baghdasaryan E, Marion K, Huang X, Yasuma T, Hirano Y, Serbulea V, Ambati M, Ambati V, Kajiwara Y, Ambati K, Hirahara S, Bastos-Carvalho A, Ogura Y, Terasaki H, Oshika T, Kim K, Hinton D, Leitinger N, Cambier J, Buxbaum J, Kenney M, Jazwinski S, Nagai H, Hara I, West A, Fitzgerald K, Sadda S, Gelfand B, Ambati J. cGAS drives noncanonical-inflammasome activation in age-related macular degeneration. Nature medicine. 2017. PMID: 29176737 | PMCID: PMC5760363
  • Gelfand B, Wright C, Kim Y, Yasuma T, Yasuma R, Li S, Fowler B, Bastos-Carvalho A, Kerur N, Uittenbogaard A, Han Y, Lou D, Kleinman M, McDonald W, Núñez G, Georgel P, Dunaief J, Ambati J. Iron Toxicity in the Retina Requires Alu RNA and the NLRP3 Inflammasome. Cell reports. 2015;11(11): 1686-93. PMID: 26074074 | PMCID: PMC4481133
  • Fowler B, Gelfand B, Kim Y, Kerur N, Tarallo V, Hirano Y, Amarnath S, Fowler D, Radwan M, Young M, Pittman K, Kubes P, Agarwal H, Parang K, Hinton D, Bastos-Carvalho A, Li S, Yasuma T, Mizutani T, Yasuma R, Wright C, Ambati J. Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors possess intrinsic anti-inflammatory activity. Science (New York, N.Y.). 2014;346(6212): 1000-3. PMID: 25414314 | PMCID: PMC4274127
  • Kim Y, Tarallo V, Kerur N, Yasuma T, Gelfand B, Bastos-Carvalho A, Hirano Y, Yasuma R, Mizutani T, Fowler B, Li S, Kaneko H, Bogdanovich S, Ambati B, Hinton D, Hauswirth W, Hakem R, Wright C, Ambati J. DICER1/Alu RNA dysmetabolism induces Caspase-8-mediated cell death in age-related macular degeneration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2014;111(45): 16082-7. PMID: 25349431 | PMCID: PMC4234570
  • Chavala S, Kim Y, Tudisco L, Cicatiello V, Milde T, Kerur N, Claros N, Yanni S, Guaiquil V, Hauswirth W, Penn J, Rafii S, De Falco S, Lee T, Ambati J. Retinal angiogenesis suppression through small molecule activation of p53. The Journal of clinical investigation. 2013;123(10): 4170-81. PMID: 24018558 | PMCID: PMC3784529
  • Kerur N, Hirano Y, Tarallo V, Fowler B, Bastos-Carvalho A, Yasuma T, Yasuma R, Kim Y, Hinton D, Kirschning C, Gelfand B, Ambati J. TLR-independent and P2X7-dependent signaling mediate Alu RNA-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation in geographic atrophy. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 2013;54(12): 7395-401. PMID: 24114535 | PMCID: PMC3825570
  • Singh V, Kerur N, Bottero V, Dutta S, Chakraborty S, Ansari M, Paudel N, Chikoti L, Chandran B. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus latency in endothelial and B cells activates gamma interferon-inducible protein 16-mediated inflammasomes. Journal of virology. 2013;87(8): 4417-31. PMID: 23388709 | PMCID: PMC3624349
  • Tarallo V, Hirano Y, Gelfand B, Dridi S, Kerur N, Kim Y, Cho W, Kaneko H, Fowler B, Bogdanovich S, Albuquerque R, Hauswirth W, Chiodo V, Kugel J, Goodrich J, Ponicsan S, Chaudhuri G, Murphy M, Dunaief J, Ambati B, Ogura Y, Yoo J, Lee D, Provost P, Hinton D, Núñez G, Baffi J, Kleinman M, Ambati J. DICER1 loss and Alu RNA induce age-related macular degeneration via the NLRP3 inflammasome and MyD88. Cell. 2012;149(4): 847-59. PMID: 22541070 | PMCID: PMC3351582
  • Kerur N, Veettil M, Sharma-Walia N, Bottero V, Sadagopan S, Otageri P, Chandran B. IFI16 acts as a nuclear pathogen sensor to induce the inflammasome in response to Kaposi Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection. Cell host & microbe. 2011;9(5): 363-75. PMID: 21575908 | PMCID: PMC3113467