John Bernet Johnson, PhD

Scientist C & Ramalingaswami Fellow



John Bernet Johnson, PhD

Scientist C & Ramalingaswami Fellow


  • Profile

    • PhD (Biotechnology) - 2006 (National Centre for Cell Science, Pune University, Pune)
    • MSc (Biochemistry) - 2000 (St. Joseph's College, Bharathidasan University)
    • 2013 - till date: Scientist C & Ramalingaswami Fellow, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, India
    • 2011 - 2013: Research Instructor, Wake Forest Health Science, NC, USA
    • 2005 - 2011: Post-doctoral fellow, Wake Forest Health Science, NC, USA
    • 2011: Winner (Poster presentation, post doctoral category), 11th Annual Graduate Research Day, Wake Forest Univ.
    • 2010: Postdoctoral fellow travel award, International Complement Society, 23rd .International Complement Workshop (NewYork)
    • 2010: Runner up (Poster presentation, post doctoral category), 10th Annual Graduate Research Day, Wake Forest Univ.
    • 2009: Runner up (Poster presentation, post doctoral category), 9th Annual Graduate Research Day, Wake Forest Univ.
    • 2009: Postdoctoral fellow travel award, American Society for Virology (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada).
    • 2008: Postdoctoral fellow travel award, American Society for Virology (Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY).
    • 2000-05: National Fellowship from Department of Biotechnology, India towards Doctoral work carried out at NCCS.
    • 2001: Dr.V.K. George endowment medal (Outstanding academic performance), Master's - Biochemistry.
    • 2000: Academic excellence prize (2nd),2nd year master's, Biochemistry.
    • 1999: Academic excellence prize (2nd),1st year master's, Biochemistry
    • 1997-98: Academic excellence prize, 2nd year under graduate, Biochemistry.
    • 1995-96: Academic excellence prize, 1st year under graduate, Biochemistry.
    • 2010 to present: Member, Association of South Eastern Biologists.
    • 2010 to present: Member, International Complement society.
    • 2007 to present: Full member, American society for Virology.
  • Research

    Viral interaction and modulation of the complement system

    The complement system forms an integral part of the host innate immune system. It lacks memory but is a very important first line of defense against a range of pathogens including viruses. The complement system is not an isolated entity in the immune system, with mounting evidence suggesting significant cross-talk with other immune arms and thus acts as a connecting bridge between the innate and the adaptive immune system. This system is vital in targeting viruses resulting in neutralization of virus and also aid in the clearance of virus infected cells. Since the complement system lacks memory unprecedented damage to host by complement is checkedby yet another group of proteins called regulators of complement activation. Viruses although susceptible to complement have developed ingenious mechanisms to counter neutralization. A few examples to cite are encoding of proteins that mimic regulatory proteins or hijacking the host regulatory proteins, thus largely minimizing the effect of complement in virus neutralization. RNA viruses are a large group of important viruses, known to cause significant infections in humans and other animals. Our lab focuses on a range of RNA viruses with a primary emphasis on rhabdoviruses (eg. vesicular stomatitis virus, rabies virus) and their interactions with the host complement system. Viral determinants or signatures like glycoproteins dictate to a large extent the nature of the outcome of either virus susceptibility to host or productive infection of the host. The primary goal of our research is to unravel the underlying mechanisms of interaction of rhabdovirus signatures with complement components. These studies would offer valuable insight into the virus biology, pathogenesis and aid largely in developing potent viral vectors for varying applications.

    Research is funded by DBT-India through Ramalingaswami Fellowship (2013 - 18)

  • Publications

    1. Bernet J, Mullick J, Singh AK and Sahu A. 2003 "Viral mimicry of the complement system"; J Biosci. 28:249-264. PMID: 12734404.
    2. Mullick J, Bernet J, Singh AK, Lambris JD and Sahu A. 2003 "Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus(Human herpesvirus 8) open reading frame 4 protein(Kaposica) is a functional homolog of complement control proteins"; J Virol. 77(6) 3878-3881. PMID: 12610165, PMCID:PMC149522.
    3. Bernet J, Mullick J, Panse Y, Parab PB and Sahu A. 2004 "Kinetic analysis of the interactions between Vaccinia virus complement control protein and human complement protein C3b and C4b"; J Virol. 78(17) 9446-9457. PMID: 15308738, PMCID: PMC506936.
    4. Mullick J, Singh A.K, Panse Y, Yadav V, Bernet J and Sahu A 2004 "Identification of functional domains in Kaposica, the complement control protein homolog of Kaposi's Sarcoma- Associated Herpesvirus (Human Herpesvirus 8) J Virol. 79(9) 5850-6. PMID: 15827200,PMCID: PMC1082731.
    5. Mullick J, Bernet J, Panse Y, Hallihosur S, Singh A.K. and Sahu A. 2005 "Identification of complement regulatory domains in vaccinia virus complement control protein" J Virol.79(19):12382-93. PMID: 16160165, PMCID: PMC1211521
    6. Singh AK, Mullick J, Bernet J, Sahu A. 2006 "Functional characterization of the complement control protein homolog of herpesvirus saimiri: ARG-118 is critical for factor I cofactor activities" J Biol Chem. 281(32):23119-28. PMID: 16760474
    7. Arimilli S, Johnson JB, Alexander-Miller MA, Parks GD. 2007 "TLR-4 and -6 agonists reverse apoptosis and promote maturation of simian virus 5-infected human dendritic cells through NFkB-dependent pathways." Virology. 365(1):144-56. PMID: 17459446, PMCID: PMC1949023.
    8. Johnson JB, Capraro GA and Parks GD. 2008 "Differential Mechanisms of Complement- mediated neutralization of the closely related paramyxoviruses Simian Virus 5 and Mumps Virus." Virology. Jun 376(1):112-23. PMID: 18440578, PMCID: PMC2398685.
    9. Capraro GA, Johnson JB, Kock ND and Parks GD. 2008 "Virus growth and antibody responses following respiratory tract infection of mice and ferrets with WT and P/V mutants of the paramyxovirus Simian Virus 5." Virology. 376(2):416-28. PMID: 18456301, PMCID: PMC2574746.
    10. Arimilli S, Johnson JB, Clark KM, Graff AH, Alexander-Miller MA, Mizel SB and Parks GD. 2008 "Engineered expression of the TLR5 ligand flagellin enhances paramyxovirus activation of human dendritic cell function." J. Virol. 82(22):10975-85. PMID: 18787007, PMCID: PMC2573257.
    11. Johnson JB, Grant K and Parks GD. 2009 "The paramyxoviruses SV5 and Mumps virus recruit host cell CD46 to evade complement-mediated neutralization". J Virol. 83(15):7602-11. PMID: 19457998, PMCID: PMC2708606
    12. Delaney KN, Phipps JP, Johnson JB and Mizel SB. 2010 "A recombinant flagellin-poxvirus fusion protein vaccine elicits complement-dependent protection against respiratory challenge with vaccinia virus in mice". Viral Immunol. 23(2):201-10. PMID: 20374000, PMCID: PMC2883514.
    13. Johnson JB, Aguilar HC, Lee B and Parks GD. 2011 "Interaction of human complement with virus particles containing the Nipah virus glycoproteins. J. Virol. 85(12):5940-8. PMID: 21450814, PMCID: PMC3126306.
    14. Bernet J, Ahmad M, Mullick J, Panse Y, Singh AK, Parab PB and Sahu A. 2011 "Disabling complement regulatory activities of vaccinia virus complement control protein reduces vaccinia virus pathogenicity." Vaccine. 29(43):7435-43. PMID: 21803094, PMCID: PMC3195257
    15. Clark KM, Johnson JB, Kock ND, Mizel SB and Parks GD. 2011 "Parainfluenza Virus 5- based vaccine vectors expressing vaccinia virus (VACV) antigens provide long-term protection in mice from lethal intranasal VACV challenge." Virology. 419(2):97-106. PMID: 21885079, PMCID: PMC3177979.
    16. Johnson JB, Lyles DS, Alexander-Miller MA and Parks GD. 2012 "Virion-associated complement regulator CD55 is more potent than CD46 in mediating resistance of mumps virus and vesicular stomatitis virus to neutralization." J Virol. 86(18):9929-40. PMID: 22761385, PMCID: PMC3446622.
    17. Biswas M, Johnson JB, Kumar SR, Parks GD and Subbiah E. 2012 "Incorporation of host complement regulatory proteins into newcastle disease virus enhances complement evasion". J Virol. 86(23):12708-16. PMID: 22973037, PMCID: PMC3497656.
    18. Johnson JB, Schmitt AP and Parks GD. 2013 "Point mutations in the paramyxovirus F protein that enhance fusion activity shift the mechanism of complement-mediated virus neutralization". J Virol. 87(16):9250-9259. PMID: 23785199, PMCID: PMC3754036.
    19. Ganguly T, Johnson JB, Kock ND, Parks GD and Deora R. 2014 "The Bordetella pertussis Bps polysaccharide enhances lung colonization by conferring protection from complement- mediated killing". Cell Microbiol. (In Press, doi: 10.1111/cmi.12264. [Epub ahead of print]). PMID: 24438122
  • Team

  • Alumni