Department of Zoology - Animal physiology group

The Animal Physiology group is responsible for the Experimental Biology Master‘s programme (Animal Physiology specialization) and the Physiology and Developmental Biology Doctoral programme. The research covers structural, ecological, biochemical, and molecular aspects of animal physiology, and is focused on several dominant areas.

Insect stress hormones

An anti-stress reaction in insects is controlled by adipokinetic neuropetides. This project deals with the detailed molecular, biochemical and physiological characterisation of these hormones to contribute to a better understanding of their function and evolution.

Anti-stress reactions regulating metabolic homeostasis in insects

This project is focused on a functional study of adipokinetic hormone (AKH) and its possible links or parallels with the adenosine signalling pathway in physiological processes affecting homeostasis. The emphasis is laid on understanding of the role of AKH in the stress response at the subcellular level.

Study of diapause

Diapausing insects cease to develop, rely on accumulated energy resources, and suppress their metabolism. The molecular and biochemical correlates of diapause, including the function of biological clock genes and their products, are under study. The practical aspects of insect imaginal diapause are studied on the beetle Ips typhographus model.

Mechanisms of insect cold tolerance and long term cryopreservation

The physiological nature of high cold tolerance in diapausing insects is analysed. Knowledge of these mechanisms can serve as a basis for development of long-term cryopreservation techniques for insects or other biological materials. The study is focussed on membrane composition and function at low temperatures, and on changes of gene expression which result in metabolic switching and synthesis of protective substances such as polyols or heat shock proteins.

Study of insect silk

Insect silk is a natural source of a number of interesting proteins for practical application. Natural or recombinant silk proteins are studied in several lepidopteran and trichopteran models, and their utilization in practice is considered.


Example of results


BOARDMAN L., SORENSEN J.G., KOŠŤÁL V., ŠIMEK P., TERBLANCHE J.S. (2016): Cold tolerance is unaffected by oxygen availability despite changes in anaerobic metabolism. Scientific Reports 6: article No. 32856.

KOŠŤÁL V., KORBELOVÁ J., ŠTĚTINA T., POUPARDIN R., COLINET H., ZAHRADNÍČKOVÁ H., OPEKAROVÁ I., MOOS M., ŠIMEK P. (2016): Physiological basis for low-temperature survival and storage of quiescent larvae of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Scientific Reports 6: 32346.

KOŠŤÁL V., KORBELOVÁ J., POUPARDIN R., MOOS M., ŠIMEK P. (2016): Arginine and proline applied as food additives stimulate high freeze tolerance in larvae of Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 2538-2367.

DOLEŽAL P., OKROUHLÍK J., DAVÍDKOVÁ M. (2016): Fine fluorescent powder marking study of dispersal in the spruce bark beetle, Ips typographus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae). European Journal of Entomology 113: 1-8.

KODRÍK D., STAŠKOVÁ T., JEDLIČKOVÁ V., WEYDA F., ZÁVODSKÁ R. and PFLEGEROVÁ J. (2015): Molecular characterization, tissue distribution, and ultrastructural localization of adipokinetic hormones in the CNS of the firebug Pyrrhocoris apterus (Heteroptera, Insecta). General and Comparative Endocrinology 210: 1-11.

KODRÍK D., BEDNÁŘOVÁ A., ZEMANOVÁ M. and KRISHAN N. (2015): Hormonal regulation of response to oxidative stress in insects - an update. International Journal of Molecular Science 16: 25788-25816.

SAJWAN S., SIDOROV R., STAŠKOVÁ T., ŽALOUDÍKOVÁ A., TAKASU J., KODRÍK D. and ŽUROVEC M. (2015): Targeted mutagenesis and functional analysis of adipokinetic hormone-encoding gene in Drosophila. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 61: 79-86.

SKOKOVÁ HABUŠTOVÁ O., SVOBODOVÁ Z., SPITZER L., DOLEŽAL P., HUSSEIN H., SEHNAL F. (2015): Communities of ground-dwelling arthropods in conventional and transgenic maize: background data for the post-market environmental monitoring. Journal of Applied Entomology 139: 31-45.

HABUŠTOVÁ O., DOLEŽAL P., SPITZER L., SVOBODOVÁ Z., HUSSEIN H. and SEHNAL F. (2014): Impact of Cry1Ab toxin expression on the non-target insects dwelling on maize plants. Journal of Applied Entomology 138: 164-172.

Ph.D. theses:

ZEMANOVÁ M. (2017) Anti-oxidative stress response in Drosophila melanogaster - the role of adipokinetic hormone and adenosine

BEDNÁŘOVÁ A. (2015) Mode of action of adipokinetic hormone at the sub-cellular level in potentiating anti-oxidative responses in insects

OKROUHLÍK J. (2014) Mammalian energetic saving in subterranean environment. The case of African mole-rats