Intestinal Innate Immunity Group

Experiments carried out by our group are directed at understanding the mechanisms that regulate intestinal innate immune responses to pathogenic and commensal bacteria.



The group is part of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center within the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, and is also affiliated with the MGH Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The main interest of our group is in clarifying how host and environmental factors influence the early phases of the immune response to bacteria that reside within or infect via the gastrointestinal tract.

Group Members

  • Bobby J. Cherayil, MD
  • Nanda Kumar Shanmugam, PhD
  • Kejie Chen, MVM

Research Projects

Current projects include investigations of the following:

  • Effects of intestinal inflammation on iron metabolism
  • Role of the gut microbiota in immune responses to Salmonella infection
  • Macrophage microbicidal mechanisms in Salmonella infection


Relevant recent publications:

1. Chlosta S., Fishman DS, Harrington L, Johnson EE, Knutson MD, Wessling Resnick M,Cherayil BJ. The iron efflux protein ferroportin regulates the intracellular growth of Salmonella enterica. Infect. Immun. 2006; 74: 3065-3067.

2. Harrington L, Srikanth CV, Antony R, Shi HN,Cherayil BJ. A role for natural killer cells in intestinal inflammation caused by infection with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. FEMS Immunol. Med. Microbiol. 2007; 51: 372-380.

3. Weng M, Huntley D, Huang IF, Foye-Jackson O, Wang L, Sarkissian A, Zhou Q, Walker WA,Cherayil BJ, Shi HN. Alternatively activated macrophages in intestinal helminth infection: effects on concurrent bacterial colitis. J. Immunol. 2007; 179: 4721-4731.

4. Srikanth CV,Cherayil BJ.Intestinal innate immunity and the pathogenesis of Salmonella enteritis. Immunol. Res. 2007; 37: 61-77.

5. Harrington L, Srikanth CV, Antony R, Rhee SJ, Mellor AL, Shi HN,Cherayil BJ.Deficiency of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase enhances commensal-induced antibody responses and protects against Citrobacter colitis. Infect. Immun. 2008; 76: 3045-3053.

6. Wang L, Johnson EE, Shi HN, Walker WA, Wessling-Resnick M,Cherayil BJ.Attenuated inflammatory responses in hemochromatosis reveal a role for iron in the regulation of macrophage cytokine translation. J. Immunol. 2008; 181: 2723-2731.

7. Wang L, Harrington L, Trebicka E, Shi HN, Kagan JC, Hong CC, Lin HY, Babitt JL,Cherayil BJ.Selective modulation of TLR4-activated inflammatory responses by altered iron homeostasis. J. Clin. Invest. 2009; 119: 3322-3328.

8. Wang L,Cherayil BJ.Ironing out the wrinkles in host defense: interactions between iron homeostasis and innate immunity. J. Innate Immun. 2009; 1: 455-464.

9.Cherayil BJ.Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase in intestinal immunity and inflammation. Inflamm. Bowel Dis. 2009; 15: 1391-1396.

10. Johnson EE, Srikanth CV, Sandgren A, Harrington L, Trebicka E, Wang L, Borregaard N, Murray M,Cherayil BJ.Siderocalin inhbits the intracellular replication of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in macrophages. FEMS Immunol. Med. Microbiol. 2010; 58: 138-145.

11. Charrier GM, Ip WK, Dejardin S, Boyer L, Sokolovska A, Cappillino M,Cherayil BJ, Podolsky D, Kobayashi K, Silverman N, Lacy-Hulbert A, Stuart LM. Identification of Drosophila Yin and PEPT2 as evolutionarily conserved phagosome-associated muramyl dipeptide transporters. J. Biol. Chem. 2010; 285: 20147-20154.

12. Johnson EE, Sandgren A,Cherayil BJ, Murray M, Wessling-Resnick M. The role of ferroportin in macrophage-mediated immunity. Infect. Immun. 2010; 78: 5099-5106.

13.Cherayil BJ.Cross-talk between iron homeostasis and intestinal inflammation. Gut Microbes 2010; 1: 65-69.

14.Cherayil BJ.Iron and immunity: immunological consequences of iron deficiency and overload. Arch. Immunol. Ther. Exp. (Warsz.) 2010; 58: 407-415.

15. Wang L, Trebicka E, Fu Y, Waggoner L, Akira S, Fitzgerald KA, Kagan JC,Cherayil BJ. Regulation of lipopolysaccharide-induced translation of tumor necrosis factor a by the Toll-like receptor 4 adaptor protein TRAM. J. Innate Immun. 2011; 3: 437-446.

16.Cherayil BJ.The role of iron in the immune response to bacterial infection. Immunol. Res. 2011; 50: 1-9.

17.Cherayil BJ, Ellenbogen S, Shanmugam NN. Iron and intestinal immunity. Curr. Opin. Gastroenterol. 2011; 27: 523-528.

18. Wang L, Trebicka E, Fu Y, Ellenbogen S, Hong CC, Babitt JL, Lin HY,Cherayil BJ. The bone morphogenetic protein-hepcidin axis as a therapeutic target in inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm. Bowel Dis. 2012; 18: 112-119.

19. Shanmugam NKN, Ellenbogen S, Trebicka E, Wang L, Mukhopadhyay S, Gallini CA, Garrett WS, Lacy-Hulbert A,Cherayil BJ. TNFa inhibits expression of the iron regulating hormone hepcidin in murine models of innate colitis. PLoS One 2012; 7: e38136.

20. Su C, Cao Y, Zhang M, Kaplan J, Su L, Fu Y, Walker WAW, Xavier R,Cherayil BJ, Shi HN. Helminth infection impairs autophagy-mediated killing of bacterial enteropathogens by macrophages. J. Immunol. 2012; 189: 1459-1466.

21. Shanmugam NK,Cherayil BJ. Serum-induced up-regulation of hepcidin expression involves the bone morphogenetic signaling pathway. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2013; 44: 383-386.

22. Trebicka E, Jacob S, Pirzai W, Hurley BP,Cherayil BJ. The role of anti-lipopolysaccharide antibodies in serum bactericidal activity against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in healthy adults and children from the United States. Clin. Vaccine Immunol. 2013; 20: 1491-1498.

23. Su L, Su CW, Qi Y, Yang G, Zhang M,Cherayil BJ, Zhang X, Shi HN. Coinfection with an intestinal helminth impairs host innate immunity against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and exacerbates intestinal inflammation in mice. Infect. Immun. 2014; 82: 3855-3866.

24. Shanmugam NK, Trebicka E, Fu LL, Shi HN,Cherayil BJ. Intestinal inflammation modulates expression of the iron-regulating hormone hepcidin depending on erythropoietic activity and the commensal microbiota. J. Immunol. 2014; 193: 1398-1407.

25. Trebicka E, Shanmugam NK, Mikhailova A, Alter G,Cherayil BJ. Effect of human immunodeficiency virus infection on plasma bactericidal activity against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Clin. Vaccine Immunol. 2014; 21: 1437-1442.



Contact Us

MGHfC Intestinal Innate Immunity Group

16th StreetRoom 3625, Building 114 Charlestown, MA 02129
  • Near Public Transit
  • Handicapped Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726-4170
  • Fax: 617-726-4172


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