Reactive oxygen species in biological systems

We study the origin of radical and non-radical reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plant and animal cells. We focus on the mechanism and site of ROS generation, scavenging of ROS by enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, and investigating the deleterious effects of ROS on lipids (lipid peroxidation) and proteins (protein oxidation).

Team members: Renuka Monoharan, Vendula Paculová, Pavel Pospíšil (the head), Ankush Prasad, Marek Rác, Deepak Rathi

Molecular and cellular pharmacology

The main research goal of our group is to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms of biological (antitumor and antibiotic) action of metallopharmaceuticals and to use this expanded knowledge to develop new classes of metallopharmaceuticals with truly new mechanisms of action and new spectra of biomedical activity.

Team members: Michal, Berecka, Viktor Brabec (the head), Jana Kašpárková, Jitka Prachařová

Structure and function of protein complexes

Our research is focused on the isolation and structural and functional characterization of protein complexes using single particle (cryo) electron microscopy, electron tomography and image analysis. We focus our attention mainly on protein supercomplexes involved in photosynthesis in a wide range of organisms from cyanobacteria, diatoms, brown and green algae to land plants.

Team members: Rameez Arshad, Dominika Čmielová, Petr Ilík, Roman Kouřil (the head), Monika Opatíková, Tereza Vánská

Biophysical aspects of plant physiology

We study i) changes in plant functioning induced by stress and senescence by measuring in vivo chlorophyll fluorescence, plant water status, leaf optical properties and cell membrane stability, ii) electrical signals and their physiological responses in carnivorous plants and Arabidopsis thaliana, and iii) various aspects photosynthesis and its regulation using mathematical modeling.

Team members: David Fuente Herraiz, Martin Hřivňacký, Helena Janečková, Zuzana Kučerová, Dušan Lazár (the head), Jan Nauš, Ladislav Nedbal, Barbora Nosková, Andrej Pavlovič, Martina Špundová

With respect to the study of the regulation of photosynthesis, we are developing (Lazár, Nedbal) the methodology of the so-called forced oscillations; we illuminate the plant with light (input signal), the intensity of which changes as a sine function, and we monitor the response of the plant (output signal), e.g. by measuring the chlorophyll fluorescence, or other signals reflecting the function of photosynthesis (I830, P515). The output signal is forced to oscillate and due to the non-linearity of photosynthetic reactions the output oscillations are not a simple sine. With a suitable period (frequency) of the input signal, resonance (= tuning) with the given existing regulation mechanism can be achieved, which is reflected in the parameters of the output signal. By changing the period (frequency) of the input signal, we reveal/study individual regulatory mechanisms of photosynthesis. The importance of this approach is also related to the fact that plants are normally exposed to fluctuating light in nature (movement of leaves and the whole plant caused by wind, movement of clouds, etc.), when repeated regulation of photosynthetic processes is needed, in contrast to illumination the plant with light of constant intensity in standard laboratory measurements routinely used up to now.
Knowledge of the regulatory mechanisms of photosynthesis and their frequency dependence could in appropriate lighting lead to a greater efficiency of photosynthesis and thus to a greater productivity of plants.
We published the first results on this topic in renowned journals Plant Physiology, Journal of Experimental Botany, and New Phytologist and we solve ths topic also in a project with acronym DREAM funded by European Innovation Council of Horizon Europe program.
An example of experimental data is presented in the figure below, which shows courses of the output signals (Chl fluorescence, I830, P515) in dependence on the period T of input sine signal (incident light).

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