The project is aimed at research of the regulatory pathways contributing to mutual coordination of activities of alkali metal cation and proton transporters across plasma and organellar membranes of the model organism S. cerevisiae and other non-conventional and pathogenic yeast species.
- Characterisation of regulatory pathways contributing to coordination of alkali metal cation and proton transporters across yeast plasma and organellar membranes with possible application in biomedical research (the serious diseases related to the K+ a H+ homeostasis imbalance are known), potentially in agriculture.
- Isolation and characterization of new genes and their products which are involved in unique abilities of some non-conventional yeasts with possible application in biotechnology.
- Identification and characterisation of transporters contributing to the virulence of pathogenic yeasts.
We focus on transport systems and their role in cell physiology, including the identification of the transporters' partners that regulate their activity either via influencing their biogenesis and/or degradation, via post-translational modifications or via changing their lipid environments. We have characterized several tens of transporters both from yeast and from higher eukaryotes. Today, we know many transporters in detail, but it is becoming more and more evident that the current knowledge of their expression, substrate specificity, and affinity or molecule structure and transport mechanism is not enough to fully understand all their physiological roles. For example, there is strong evidence that many proteins that have roles other than transporting H+ or K+, e. g. proteins involved in Ca2+ signalling, intracellular trafficking or the lipid composition of membranes, are somehow involved in the maintenance of pH and potassium homeostases. The mechanism of this involvement is not known and we would like to contribute to its elucidation. As potassium and pH homeostases are crucial for all types of cells, we would like to transfer our "yeast-based" know-how to higher eukaryotes, and strengthen our collaboration with partners studying similar systems and physiological parameters in higher eukaryotes. We plan to complement this basic research with some oriented and applied research, mainly in two promising areas-transporters as targets for new antifungal drugs, and transporters which, upon heterologous expression, improve the properties of industrial strains used in biotechnology.
Potential for Cooperation
Over the last 5 years, we have published 35 research papers, have participated in more than 10 research projects including 2 ERA-NET projects, 2 FP7 MC training networks and 1 COST project, and have established fruitful collaboration in applied research on new antifungal drugs. We have been collaborating with more than 20 Czech and European teams.
Based on our specific know-how and expertise in
1) heterologous expression and characterization of transporters from various organisms in yeast cells
2) estimation of cell physiological parameters (e. g. intracellular pH, membrane potential, H+ and K+ fluxes across the plasma membrane) and their changes upon various stresses
3) development of screening systems identifying modulators of the activity of various transporters
4) construction of new tools for genetic engineering of non-conventional yeast species.
We offer the above-mentioned expertise for starting new cooperation with local and foreign partners.