APVV Projects


INFOTICK – Získanie pravdivých informácií o kliešťoch
Getting right info on ticks
Program: SRDA
Project leader: MVDr. Derdáková Markéta, PhD.
Duration: 1.7.2023 – 30.6.2027
Expresia a funkcia calcitonínu podobných peptidov a ich receptorov u kliešťov
Expression and function of calcitonin-like peptides and their receptors in ticks
Program: SRDA
Project leader: Ing. Roller Ladislav, PhD.
Annotation: In this project we will focus on identification, expression and functional analysis of tick peptides related toevolutionarily conserved calcitonins. In insects and vertebrates, these peptides control essential physiologicalfunctions such as water and ion balance, metabolism, feeding behaviour and reproduction. We will use the ticksIxodes ricinus and I. scapularis as model species, as the role of neuropeptides in these vectors of dangerouspathogens is poorly understood. To elucidate signalling pathways of tick calcitonin-like peptides (CTs), we will usebioinformatics, cDNA cloning, qRT-PCR, in situ hybridisation and immunohistochemical staining with newly developed antibodies against tick CTs. Predicted receptors for CTs will be functionally characterised and theirspatial and temporal expression in tick organs determined by qRT-PCR. Electrophysiological techniques and microscopic video analysis will be used to determine effects of CTs on the salivary glands, digestive tract andreproductive organs in vitro. Changes in production and activity of digestive enzymes in intestinal extracts will beanalysed by Western blots. We will investigate peptide-receptor signalling pathways by suppressing expression of CTs receptors by RNA interference (RNAi). A very important part of this project is detailed analysis of effects of vaccination or CT receptor suppression by RNAi on transmission of pathogens Borrelia burgdorferi and B. afzelii. These modern and original approaches could reveal new mechanisms in tick blood feeding and reproduction, as well as very complex interactions between ticks, pathogens and hosts.
Duration: 1.7.2022 – 30.6.2026
Ekológia pohlavného výberu
Ecology of sexual selection
Program: SRDA
Project leader: doc. RNDr. Vidlička Ľubomír, CSc.
Annotation: Models of sexual selection primarily involve Fisher\’s runaway sexual selection, selection for good genes, handicap principle and sexual conflict. These processes are, however, significantly influenced by global environmental change which cause direct and indirect types of environmental pollution. In this project, we use a well-known model spider species Pisaura mirabilis in which males exhibit conspicuous form of nuptial feeding (male transfer of nutrient to the female) during courtship to test whether environmental change influences evolution of mating behavior. Specifically, we will investigate both direct effects (i.e., heavy metals accumulation) and indirect effects (i.e., decreased prey availability) of environmental pollution on sexual selection. Furthermore, we deal evolutionary questions regarding physiological costs of nuptial feeding to males. Results of this investigation will have broad implications for the evolution of sexual selection in animals under environmental change.
Duration: 1.7.2021 – 30.6.2025