Department of Comparative Biochemistry and Bioanalytics

Head

Maria Rąpała–Kozik, PhD, DSc
room: 4.0.26 (A103), phone: +48 12 664 65 27

Staff

Justyna Karkowska-Kuleta, PhD
room: 4.0.27 (A101), phone: +48 12 664 65 24

Grażyna Braś, PhD
room: 4.0.27 (A101), phone: +48 12 664 65 24

Marcin Zawrotniak, PhD
room: 4.0.24 (A135), phone: +48 12 664 65 44

PhD students

Karolina Seweryn
Dominika Ostrowska

Research topics

  • Yeast adhesion and invasion of the host cells
  • Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) in fungal infections
  • The role of aspartic proteases and adhesins of Candida spp. in fungal infections
  • Moonlighting proteins at the surface of Candida spp. cells
  • Interactions within the mixed biofilms involving bacterial and fungal opportunistic pathogens
  • Biochemistry of vitamins and coenzymes
  • The role of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the protection of plant and yeast cells under stress conditions
  • Structural and enzymatic characterization of proteins involved in thiamine biosynthesis in plants and microorganisms

Methods and specialistic equipment

  • Gene expression analysis (q-PCR)
  • Recombinant protein production (E. coli, P. pastoris)
  • Chromatographic techniques for separation and identification of biomolecules (FPLC, HPLC)
  • Mass spectrometry coupled with liquid chromatography (LC-MS/MS) in proteomics
  • Protein interaction analysis: surface plasmon resonance (SPR, BIACORE 3000), ELISA, fluorescence anisotropy, FRET
  • Fluorescence microscopy

Current projects

  1. Maria Rapala-Kozik: New insights into the role of mixed biofilms with the participation of Candida albicans in the development of periodontal disease. (2016-2018). National Science Centre (NCN).
  2. Maria Rapala-Kozik: The role of adhesins and secreted aspartic proteases of Candida albicans in the formation of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NET) – friends or foes of the host in yeast infections? (2012-2016). National Science Centre (NCN).

Selected publications

  1. Gogol M, Ostrowska D, Klaga K, Bochenska O, Wolak N, Aoki W, Ueda M, Kozik A, Rapala-Kozik M. (2016) Inactivation of α1-proteinase inhibitor by Candida albicans aspartic proteases favors the epithelial and endothelial cell colonization in the presence of neutrophil extracellular traps. Acta Biochim Pol; 63(1)167-75.
  2. Kozik A, Gogol M, Bochenska M, Karkowska-Kuleta J, Wolak N, Kamysz W, Aoki W, Ueda M, Faussner A, Rapala-Kozik M. (2015) Kinin release from human kininogen by 10 aspartic proteases produced by pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. BMC Microbiol.; 15(1):60.
  3. Kozik A, Karkowska-Kuleta J, Zajac D, Bochenska O, Kedracka-Krok S, Jankowska U, Rapala-Kozik M. (2015) Fibronectin-, vitronectin- and laminin-binding proteins at the cell walls of Candida parapsilosis and Candida tropicalis pathogenic yeasts. BMC Microbiol.;15(1):197.
  4. Rapala-Kozik M, Bochenska O, Zawrotniak M, Wolak N, Trebacz G, Gogol M, Ostrowska D, Aoki W, Ueda M, Kozik A. (2015) Inactivation of the antifungal and immunomodulatory properties of human cathelicidin LL-37 by aspartic proteases produced by the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. Infect Immun.; 83(6):2518-30.
  5. Wolak N, Kowalska E, Kozik A, Rapala-Kozik M. (2014) Thiamine increases the resistance of baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae against oxidative, osmotic and thermal stress, through mechanisms partly independent of thiamine diphosphate-bound enzymes. FEMS Yeast Res.; 14(8):1249–62.
  6. Bras G, Bochenska O, Rapala-Kozik M, Guevara-Lora I, Faussner A, Kamysz W, Kozik A. (2013) Release of biologically active kinin peptides, Met-Lys-bradykinin and Leu-Met-Lys-bradykinin from human kininogens by two major secreted aspartic proteases of Candida parapsilosis. Peptides. ;48:114–23.
  7. Zawrotniak M, Rapala-Kozik M. (2013) Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) - Formation and implications. Acta Biochim Pol.;60(3):277–284.
  8. Rapala-Kozik M, Wolak N, Kujda M, Banas AK. (2012) The upregulation of thiamine (vitamin B1) biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings under salt and osmotic stress conditions is mediated by abscisic acid at the early stages of this stress response. BMC Plant Biol.;12:2.
  9. Rapala-Kozik M, Bras G, Chruscicka B, Karkowska-Kuleta J, Sroka A, Herwald H, Nguyen KA, Eick S, Potempa J, Kozik A. (2011) Adsorption of components of the plasma kinin-forming system on the surface of Porphyromonas gingivalis involves gingipains as the major docking platforms. Infect Immun.; 79(2):797–805.
  10. Woodward JB, Abeydeera ND, Paul D, Phillips K, Rapala-Kozik M, Freeling M, Begley TP, Ealick SE, McSteen P, Scanlon MJ. (2010) A maize thiamine auxotroph is defective in shoot meristem maintenance. Plant Cell.; 22(10):3305–17.

Batchelor/master thesis topics

  • The influence of Candida albicans virulence factors on the response of gingival fibroblasts
  • The biological consequences of degradation of key host proteins by Candida spp. aspartic proteases
  • Generation of Extracellular Traps (ET) by selected cells of the host immune system after contact with C. albicans cells and purified fungal virulence factors
  • Changes in the gene expression of C. albicans selected virulence factors after contact with host cells
  • Genetic and proteomic changes in the host defense cells in contact with C. albicans
  • The formation of mixed biofilms by C. albicans and pathogenic bacteria – the analysis of factors involved in the cooperation between both types of microorganisms
  • Identification of the protein-protein interactions of the major bacterial and fungal surface proteins, using SPR (surface plasmon resonance)
  • Structural characteristics of thiamine biosynthetic enzymes using site directed mutagenesis.

Requirements for candidates

Basic knowledge in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, proteomics and instrumental analysis