Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

The department is responsible for the Experimental Biology Master’s programme and for the Molecular, and Cell Biology, and Genetics Doctoral programmes.


Head of the Department: doc. Tomáš Doležal


Fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model for integrative physiology and cell communication

Using the powerful genetic tools available in Drosophila as a model, we are interested in an inter-organ communication which ensures proper energy re-distribution during immune response. We also investigate cell-to-cell communication via the Notch signaling pathway and its crosstalk with metabolism.

Developmental Biology and Genetics

Using the preimplantation stage mouse embryo as a model to understand the mechanisms underlying the first cell-fate decisions of mammalian development; understanding how and why some cells differentiate (specialise) and others retain pluripotency (to contribute to later foetal development).

Molecular parasitology

Trypanosomes are protists that have found unorthodox solutions to a number of cell processes. We are studying the function of numerous proteins of the mitochondrion of T. brucei, causative agents of the sleeping sickness.

Evolutionary protistology 

We have recently described the phylum Chromerida, a novel group of secondary algae closely related to apicomplexan parasites. Genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes of two of these algae are now being sequenced, and their life cycles, cellular biology, and metabolism are being extensively investigated.

Molecular basis of the insect circadian clock and diurnal rhytmicity

Circadian and seasonal (photoperiodic) biological clocks are found in most living organisms and their fundamental properties are highly conserved. The long-term goal of this project is to gain a general understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie circadian rhythmicity in insects.

Molecular neurobiology

We want to understand how the human brain works. We are using a combination of linear and non-linear optical phenomena with molecular biology tools, towards the development of techniques that will allow optical monitoring of the electrical and chemical activity of neurons.

Insect development

Insects are the most numerous and diverse group of animals on Earth. We study the action of juvenile hormones and steroid hormones on metamorphosis, a dramatic developmental transition from crawling larvae to flying adults.

Molecular cytogenetics and evolutionary genetics of insects

Cytogenetic research is focused on W and Z sex chromosomes of moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) with the aim to clarify the evolutionary history of lepidopteran sex chromosomes and their role in adaptive radiation. In evolutionary genetics, research is done in several areas and on a variety of organisms, mainly insects and entomopathogenic nematodes. Molecular evolution of genes and gene families related to the life-style is investigated; molecular markers are applied for the population genetics of natural populations and whole mitogenomes are used to resolve taxonomic problems and phylogenetic questions.

Example of results


RUBIO M.A., GASTON K.W., MCKENNEY K.M., FLEMING I.M, PARIS Z., LIMBACH P.A., ALFONZO J.D. (2017): Editing and methylation at a single site by functionally interdependent activities. Nature 542: 494-497.

DIXIT S., MÜLLER-MCNICOLL M., DAVID V., ZARNACK K., ULE J., HASHIMI H. and LUKEŠ J. (2017): Differential binding of mitochondrial transcripts by MRB8170 and MRB4160 regulates distinct RNA processing fates in trypanosomes. mBio 8, e02288-16. 

FLEGONTOVA O., FLEGONTOV P., MALVIYA S., AUDIC S., WINCKER P., DE VARGAS C., BOWLER C., LUKEŠ J., HORÁK A. (2016): Extreme diversity of diplonemid eukaryotes in the ocean. Current Biology  26: 3060-3065.

HUSNÍK F. and MCCUTCHEON J.P. (2016): Repeated replacement of an intrabacterial symbiont in the tripartite nested mealybug symbiosis. PNAS 113: E5416-24.

KORANDOVÁ M., FRYDRYCHOVÁ R. (2016): Activity of telomerase activity and telomeric length in Apis mellifera. Chromosoma 125: 405-411.

BAZALOVÁ O., KVÍČALOVÁ M., VÁLKOVÁ T., SLABÝ P., BARTOŠ P., NETUŠIL R., TOMANOVÁ K., BRAEUNIG P., LEE H.-J., ŠAUMAN I., DAMULEVICZ M., PROVAZNÍK J., POKORNÝ R., DOLEŽEL D., VÁCHA M. (2016): Cryptochrome 2 mediates directional magnetoreception in cockroaches. PNAS 113: 1660-1665.

HASHIMI H., KALTENBRUNNER S., ZÍKOVÁ A. and LUKEŠ J. (2016): Trypanosome mitochondrial translation and tetracycline: no sweat about tet. PLoS Pathogens 12, e1005492.

THAMODARAN V. and BRUCE A. W. (2016): p38 (Mapk14/11) occupies a regulatory node governing entry into primitive endoderm differentiation during preimplantation mouse embryo development. Open Biology 6, issue 9.

SLANINOVÁ V., KRAFČÍKOVÁ M., PEREZ-GOMEZ R., STEFFAL P., TRANTÍREK L., BRAY S.J. and KREJČÍ A. (2016): Notch stimulates growth by direct regulation of genes involved in the control of glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Open Biology,6(2): 150155, 2016. doi: 10.1098/rsob.150155.

BAJGAR A., KUČEROVÁ K., JONÁTOVÁ L., TOMČALA A., SCHNEEDORFEROVÁ I., OKROUHLÍK J. et al. (2015): Extracellular Adenosine Mediates a Systemic Metabolic Switch during Immune Response. PLoS Biology 13(4): e1002135.

STALEVA H., KOMENDA J., SHUKLA M.K., ŠLOUF V., KAŇA R., POLÍVKA T., SOBOTKA R. (2015): Mechanism of photoprotection in the cyanobacterial ancestor of plant antenna protein. Nature Chemical Biology 11, 287-291.

ŠUBRTOVÁ K., PANICUCCI B. and ZÍKOVÁ A. (2015): ATPaseTb2, a unique membrane-bound FoF1-ATPase component, is essential in bloodstream and dyskinetoplastic trypanosomes. PLoS Pathog. 11(2): e1004660.

BONDAR A. & LAZAR J. (2014): Dissociated GαGTP and Gβγ protein subunits are the major activated form of heterotrimeric Gi/o proteins. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289(3), 1271-1281.


Ph.D. theses:

SLANINOVÁ V. (2017) The interplay between the Notch signalling pathway and metabolism.

HUSNÍK F. (2017) Genomic and Cellular Integration in the Tripartite Nested Mealybug Symbiosis.

MIHAJLOVIC AI. (2017) The involvement of the Hippo signalling pathway in the first two cell-fate decisions of pre-implantation mouse embryo development.

ŠUBRTOVÁ K. (2015) FoF1-ATP synthase/ATPase in the parasitic protist Trypanosoma brucei.