Ghanshyam Swarup obtained his BSc and MSc degrees from Kanpur University and then obtained PhD from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. Thereafter, he joined Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as Research Associate in the laboratory of Professor David L Garbers where he also worked in collaboration with Professor Stanley Cohen. This collaborative work started the search for protein tyrosine phosphatases. He joined the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and continues to be Scientist there.
Academic and Research Achievements: Swarup has made notable contributions in the area of cellular signaling mechanisms. His pioneering work on protein tyrosine phosphatases showed that these were distinct enzymes which were different from phospho Ser/Thr phosphatases. Molecular cloning of a PTPase (at CCMB), which binds to DNA is a unique finding. Four different forms of this PTPase arise from a single gene by alternative splicing. The major splice forms differ in substrate specificity in vitro and in vivo, subcellular location and interaction with DNA. His work has shown that the nuclear isoform PTP-S2 is a positive regulator of cell division cycle and plays a role in G1 to S phase transition through c-Myc controlled pathway. The other major isoform PTP-S4 plays a role in controlling anchorage independent cell growth of tumor cells. PTP-S4/TC-48 isoform is localized to ER, ERGIC and Golgi and moves between these organelles through interaction with transmembrane proteins p23 and p25 (putative cargo receptors). These studies led to identification of the first cargo (PTP-S4/TC48) for the putative cargo receptors in mammalian cells. His work suggests a novel mechanism by which p53 activates transcription of components of cell death machinery involved in execution of programmed cell death. His work on the mechanism of gene activiation by interferon-? showed that interferon-? activates p73, a p53 family member, which contributes to caspase-1 promoter activation. His work on Src family tyrosine kinases showed their role in regulating actin cytoskeleton reorganization. More recently, he has started exploring the molecular mechanism of pathogenesis of glaucoma, an eye disease, which causes permanent blindness due to the death of retinal ganglion cells. His group in collaboration with LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, has shown that the common mutation of optineurin, E50K, has acquired the ability to induce cell death selectively in retinal ganglion cells, which is mediated by oxidative stress. These findings raise the possibility of use of antioxidants for delaying, preventing, or controlling some forms of glaucoma. He also guided 16 PhD students.
Awards and Honours: Dr Swarup was awarded SS Bhatnagar Prize (1996) and CSIR Young Scientist Award (1989). He was elected Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1995). Dr Swarup was elected member of Guha Research Conference.