Bacterial Genetics and Genomics

Functional genomics (pathogenic treponemes)

Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum is the causative agent of syphilis and is unculturable under in vitro conditions. This fact severly limits the use of standard genetic approaches to study this organism. Several genomic methods are being used to study this organism:

1. Methods of functional genomics are used for identification of treponemal gene functions.

2. Closely related T. paraluiscuniculi is the etiologic agent of veneral spirochetosis of rabbits and is not infectious to humans. Genomic comparisons of both treponemes can provide evidence of genetic diversity that can be related to the different pathogenicity of these closely related bacteria. DNA microarray-based technology allows comparisons between these organism on both DNA (genome structure) and mRNA (expression profiling) levels.

3. Genome structure and sequence of several treponemal strains. Analysis of genome structure and whole genome sequencing of T. pallidum ssp. pallidum, ssp. pertenue and ssp. endemicum.

Molecular genetics (colicin research)

Colicins are exocellular bacterial protein toxins produced by some bacterial strains of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Their highly efficient ability to kill sensitive bacteria is facilitated by highly specific interactions between colicin molecule and the cell envelope proteins (and other components) of sensitive bacterium. Although colicins have been extensively studied in the past decades, little is known about the colicin recognition of outer membrane receptor and inhibition of colicin killing activity by their cognate immunity proteins synthesized by producer bacteria.

We are studiing colicin-receptor and colicin-immunity protein interactions. These experiments will identify amino acid residue(s) involved in colicin receptor binding and in colicin inactivation by its cognate immunity protein.

Research team

Group leader
David Šmajs, Prof., M.D., Ph.D.


Juraj Bosák, Ph.D.
Linda Grillová, Ph.D.
Markéta Nováková, Ph.D.
Lenka Paštěková, Ph.D.
Petra Pospíšilová, Ph.D.


Doctoral students

Matěj Hrala, M.Sc.
Pavla Havlíčková, M.Sc. - maternity leave
Kateřina Snopková, M.Sc. - maternity leave
Eliška Vrbová, Mgr.
Monica Medappa, M.Sc.


Professor emeritus
Jan Šmarda, Prof., M.D., Dr.

Ljubica Svobodová 

Cytoskeleton research

This research is currently not continuing.

Research team

Kopecká Marie, Prof., M.D., Ph.D. († 2016)
Gabriel Miroslav, Assoc. Prof., M.D., Ph.D. († 2008)
Svoboda Augustin, Prof., M.D., Ph.D.

Foreign scientific collaboration:
Yamaguchi Masashi Assoc. Prof., Ph.D. from Chiba University, Research Center for Pathogenic Fungi and Microbial Toxicoses, Japan is a world-known expert in electron microscopy and medical mycology.

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