Laboratory of Molecular Immunology

Head of laboratory

Prof. RNDr. Jan Kopecký, CSc.

Research Scientist:

Mgr. Jaroslava Lieskovská, Ph.D.


Ph.D. students:

Mgr. Zuzana Beránková

Ms. Ritesh Khanna


Bc. a Ms. students:

Bc. Simona Fišerová

Bc. Anna Kovaříková

Bc. Markéta Spěváková

Bc. Kristína Novotná

Hana Šmídová


Research objective:

Our research team is for several years focused on studying the effects of tick saliva and tick salivary components on the function of various types of immune cells. It is believed that immunomodulation of innate immune cells is one of the factors which support transmission and spreading of tick transmitted pathogens, like tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and Borrelia spirochetes to host. Our overall aim is to reveal the mechanism behind tick saliva induced immunomodulation of innate immune cells, with focus on dendritic cells.


Running projects:

Main project of our laboratory is aimed to the analysis of cellular stress pathways induced upon infection by tick-borne encephalitis virus in skin resident cells. We hypothesize that tick saliva and tick salivary components by influencing host cellular stress responses could affect the function of immune cells and consequently pathogen transmission and spreading to host. In TBEV infected dendritic cells and macrophages we determine oxidative stress responses and unfolded protein responses (as reaction to stress on endoplasmic reticulum). We pay attention to processes like apoptosis and autophagy which are often initiated in stressed cells. And finally, as signals called DAMPS (danger associated molecular pattern) are crucial for triggering of adequate immune reaction, interference of tick saliva with DAMPs signaling is currently examined as well (more about the project).


Collaboration with other laboratories

Laboratory of Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Japan

In collaboration with Dr. Shintaro Kobayashi, an expert in field of autophagy, we solve a part of our main project concerning the importance of autophagy for TBEV replication and function of TBEV- infected macrophages and dendritic cells. The knockdown method of chosen autophagy related genes is utilized.


Laboratory of Molecular Ecology of Vectors and Pathogens, Parasitology Institute, BC CAS ČR

We collaborate with Dr. Ryan Rego on the project devoted to identification of genes required for dissemination of borrelia which differ in their pathogenic potential. Parameters like production of cytokines or reactive oxygen species are being tested.  


Laboratory of Applied Plasma Physics, Department of Physics, Faculty of Sciences, University of South Bohemia, CB

Within the grant project, managed by Dr. Vítězslav Straňák we test biocompatibility and antibacterial features of plasma prepared thin surfaces containing covered compounds like antibiotics, copper nanoparticles, etc. To do this, the inhibition of survival and growth of tested bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis and Escherichia coli) as well as formation of bacterial biofilms on thin surfaces are analysed in various time intervals. Surfaces with controlled long-lasting release of antibacterial substance can be utilized in future in human medicine in preparation of various implants.


Laboratory of Applied Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of South Bohemia, CB

In collaboration with Dr. Ján Štěrba we work on the grant project aimed to proteomic and transcriptomic analysis of macrophages and dendritic cells infected by tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). We participate mainly on preparation and sorting of cells required for infection.


Laboratory of vector-host interaction

Within our Department of Medical Biology we collaborate with Dr. Jindřich Chmelař in functional characterization of serpins. We focus on testing of one particular serpin from Ixodes ricinus on cytolytic activity of natural killer (NK) cells. Tested serpin in in vitro assay inhibits granzyme B, the effector molecule in NK granules.


Laboratory of Algal Biotechnology, Centre Algatech, Institute of Microbiology, CAS of Czech Republic

Research group of Dr. Pavel Hrouzek focuses on the isolation, preparation and identification of algeal metabolites with potential anti-cancerous effect. We started collaboration with this group recently with the aim to uncover the underlying mechanism of inhibitory effects of chosen metabolites. We will perform the analysis of apoptotic pathways which determine cellular survival and are often deregulated in cancer cells.