Laboratory of Vector-Host Interaction
RNDr. Helena Langhansová, Ph.D.
Bc. Hana Pechová
We study the processes that occur at the interface between vector and its host. Our model is the tick Ixodes ricinus and mouse (Mus musculus). We study this interaction at molecular level, i.e. we investigate specific molecules, which are secreted via tick saliva into the host and are responsible for the modulation of host immune reaction and other defensive mechanisms, such as hemostasis. We employ reverse genetics approach. It means that in order to learn about the exact function of a given salivary protein, we first prepare this protein in recombinant form and we test it in in vitro and in vivo models of inflammation or even disease. We are using also bioinformatics tools, such as 3D modeling and phylogenetics. Our ongoing projects are focused on SERPINS - the largest superfamily of serine protease inhibitors.
Serpins from the salivary glands of the tick Ixodes ricinus and their role in the vector-host interaction
The tick Ixodes ricinus is the most important pathogen vector in Europe. Among transmitted pathogens, Tick-borne encephalitis virus and Borrelia spirochetes are the most dangerous to human health. Tick saliva contains hundreds of different proteins that disrupt almost all host's defense mechanisms. Serpins form a specific group of tick salivary proteins due to their mode of action and pluripotency in their activities. Our research aims at the functional, biochemical and structural characterization of serpins in ticks. MORE...