Analysis of Biologically Important Molecular Complexes

Vedoucí: prof. RNDr. Jiří Fajkus CSc.

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Research topics:

Telomeres: Guardians of Chromosome Stability and Drivers of Plant Speciation

Telomeres, the specialized caps at the ends of chromosomes, play a crucial role in maintaining chromosome integrity and stability. Their structure, evolution, and maintenance have garnered significant attention in plant biology, with implications for understanding genome dynamics and speciation processes. A key aspect of telomere research involves characterizing the nucleoprotein composition of these structures and the associated telomerase enzymes responsible for their elongation. This includes employing quantitative biophysical methods to analyze interactions between telomere components and elucidating alternative telomere maintenance mechanisms that operate independently of telomerase.

Epigenetic mechanisms, modifications that alter gene expression without changing the underlying DNA sequence, also play a critical role in regulating telomere function. Understanding how epigenetic modifications influence gene expression, chromosome stability, and telomere maintenance is essential for comprehending the complex interplay between genetic and epigenetic factors in plant development and evolution.

In summary, unraveling the intricacies of telomere biology in plants provides valuable insights into the mechanisms that safeguard genome integrity, promote chromosome stability, and drive speciation processes.

Research Areas:
  • Structure, evolution, and maintenance of telomeres, their role in maintaining chromosome stability in plant specialization.
  • Characterization of nucleoprotein complexes of telomeres and telomerase
  • Epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression regulation, chromosome stability, and telomere maintenance.

    Main Objectives:
  • To elucidate the evolution and biogenesis of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein complex.
  • To analyze the structure-function relationships of telomerase components.
  • To systematically search for organisms that lack telomerase and use alternative telomere maintenance systems. To clarify the structure of telomeres and the mechanisms of their lengthening in these organisms.
  • To clarify the roles of epigenetic mechanisms in ensuring genome stability and reprogramming gene expression during development of plants and their adaptation to stress.

Members of the laboratory also participate in the research group Chromatin Molecular Complexes at CEITEC MU.

Team members:
  • Sub-group leaders: Miroslav Fojta, Miloslava Fojtová, Petra Procházková Schrumpfová
  • Researchers: Tereza Přerovská
  • Technician-specialist: Dagmar Zachová
  • PhD Students: Jiří Rudolf, Anna Rudolfová, Ondřej Helia, Adéla Machelová, Alžbeta Kusová, Ondrej Hesko, Marcela Hrušková, Anna Ondráčková


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