Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Head of the Department: Ing. Jana Libantová, CSc.


Scientific Staff:

RNDr. Radoslava Matúšová, PhD.

Mgr. Katarína Klubicová, PhD.

Ing. Eva Boszorádová, PhD.

Ing. Martin Jopčík, PhD.

Ing. Miroslav Rajninec, PhD.

Mgr. Miroslav Perniš, PhD.

Mgr. Maksym Danchenko, PhD.

PhD students:

Ing. Juraj Kleman

MSc. Shubhi Mishra

Mgr. Veronika Mikitová

Technical Staff:

Anna Fábelová

Viera Majerčíková


The research activity of the DMBB  is focused on the molecular and biochemical characteristics of processes that occur in plants exposed to biotic and abiotic stress factors and during the plant development.


1.Application of genes for hydrolytic enzyme in fortification of plant defence against biotic stress

The genes for hydrolytic enzymes - chitinases and β-1,3-glucanases derived from carnivorous plants play a role in the defense against the biotic stress and during digestion of captured prey, respectively. Some of them are being introduced into a bacterial expression system in order to characterize the purified proteins in terms of their potential biotechnological application. Genes whose proteins show a significant ability to inhibit the growth of phytopathogens under in vitro conditions can be used in the biological protection of plants or in the preparation of transgenic plants with enhanced defence against specific biotic factors. Enzymes with interesting kinetic parameters and products hydrolysis can be used in the production of oligomers with therapeutic properties.

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Obr. 1 (a) Drosera rotundifolia plants as source of genes for hydrolytic enzymes (b) Over-expression of chitinase gene in bacterial expression system (c) Trichoderma viride growth inhibition assays in the presence of purified chitinase (DrChit).


2. Study of selected physiological and molecular factors involved in regeneration and growth of parasitic weeds of Phelipanche spp.

Parasitic plants represent specific type of biotic stress for plants. Several Striga (witchweed), Phelipanche and Orobanche spp. (broomrapes) belong to the group of economically important parasitic weeds of the Orobanchaceae family with negative imact on crop production. The research is focusing on the molecular basis of the interaction between the host plant and the parasite and on key signalling molecules involved in their interactions. The seeds of these parasitic plants will only germinate after induction by  a chemical signal exuded from the roots of the host plant. Strigolactones, a new class of carotenoid-derived phytohormones, play a key function in this interaction, although other compounds exuded from the roots of the host may be involved in the interaction. We are interested in the biosynthesis of the strigolactones, their detection and functions in the plants and their role in communication with the parasitic plants and other microorganisms.

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Obr. 2 Phelipanche ramosa acquires nutrients and water from the roots of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)


3. Studying of the function of dehydrin genes from Arabidopsis thaliana in the tolerance to heavy metal stresses

A part of plant response to different types of abiotic stresses (including heavy metals) is a modulation of the cellular metabolism and production of the wide range of proteins like dehydrins. In cooperation with the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava we aimed to study the effect of constitutive expression of Arabidopsis dehydrin genes on the tolerance of transgenic tobacco plants against selected types of abiotic stresses, mainly heavy metals (cadmium, cooper and zinc).  The results of our research show likely possibility of the Arabidopsis dehydrines to bind heavy metal ions in root system of transgenic tobacco plants during stresses. This kind of plants could be than used for rhizofiltration of these metals from soil.

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Fig. 3 (a) Total Cd content in nontransgenic NT and transgenic T1 plants (T1-1, T1-14) after 10 days of growth in presence of 50 μM CdCl2. (b) Cadmium distribution in root and shoot parts of nontransgenic NT and transgenic T1 plants (T1-1, T1-14) after 10 days of growth in presence of 50 μM CdCl2. (c) Cadmium uptake by roots of nontransgenic NT and transgenic T1 plants (T1-1, T1-14) during 10 days.


4. Investigation of molecular processes occurring during somatic embryogenesis

Somatic embryogenesis is not only an effective regeneration system suitable for the study of different plant development issues. It is also suitable in vitro method for mass propagation of plants, especially conifers. On the proteomic level, using gel-based methods we investigate the changes in protein composition which occur during somatic embryogenesis in Pinus nigra Arn. Proteins where quantitative changes in comparison of cell lines with high and low embryogenic capacity are detected, can contribute to a better understanding of the process of SE and potentially be used as markers.

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Fig. 4 Workflow - Illustration of protein separation on the 2-DE gels and localization of statistically altered proteins.