We study the insect neuropeptides and their role in important physiological and developmental processes in the insect body. The study is focussed on the problems of metabolism, digestive enzymes and their inhibitors, respiratory processes, heart beating and anti-stress reactions elicited by various stressors including the insecticides. Another study includes research of insect hormones, their analogs and other biologically active compounds influencing development and reproduction, Study is directed to the development of male and female germ cells, accessory glands, their functions, haemophagous behaviour, autogeny and anautogeny. For the research we use a wide choice of classical and advanced physiological and biochemical methods. They imply chromatographic techniques including the HPLC and FPLC, electrophoretic methods (one- and two dimensional electrophoresis), immunomethods (ELISA and Western blotting), electrophysiological methods (changes of haemocelic pressure, heart-beating frequency, extracardiacal pulsation, expiratory movements, oxide consumption and carbon dioxide production) and a number of various biochemical assays using spectrophotometric determinations (enzyme reactions, oxidative stress, determination of metabolic levels, etc.). As the main model insects we use the bug Pyrrhocoris apterus, the locust Locusta migratoria, the fly Drosophila melanogaster and the beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata, in a less degree also representatives of Lepidoptera: Galleria mellonella, Hyalophora cecropia and also Manduca sexta.
The project deals with a study of the physiological processes in insect body, which are switched on by peptides from the adipokinetic hormone (AKH) family as a reaction on stress situations. The study is focussed on mobilization of anti-oxidative stress reactions including their mode of action on biochemical level, and interactions of AKH with other insect hormones (juvenile hormones, allatostatins, biogenic amines). Further, the project involves also a study of AKH role in insect reproduction and digestion, where the hormone stimulates intake of food, and activity of salivary glands including the enzyme polygalacturonase (P. apterus photo: F. Weyda).
Supported by grants GACR P501/10/1215
PI: Dalibor Kodrík
The main goal of the project is a study of physiological aspects of the adipokinetic hormone (AKH) roles in energy metabolism which could be used in a control of insect populations. The project includes also a study of interactions of AKH with pesticides what could result under certain physiological conditions to intensification of the pesticide effect. The project study also a question how the stress elicited by the insecticide application affects a role of AKH in control of energetic and other physiological processes in insect organism.
Supported by grant GAČR P501/10/1215.
PI: Dalibor Kodrík, Jan Šula
Physiological and pharmacological effects of insect neurohormones are not known in details due to handling problems with living insects. Recently we have developed a number of electrophysiological methods suitable for monitoring of haemocelic pressure changes, heart beating, extracardiacal pulsations, expiratory movements, oxide consumption and carbon dioxide production in insects of relatively small body size. We have solved principals of reverse heart activity and described relationships between cardiacal and extracardiacal haemocelic pulsations in Tenebrio molitor, Cydia pomonella and Manduca sexta pupae. The possibilities of long-time monitoring of haemocelic pressure changes and development of optoelectronic methods allow us an investigation of long-time pharmacologic effect of a number of neuropeptides (proctolin, CCAP, LEM) in insect body.
PI: Karel Sláma
Peptidase inhibitors (PIs) participate in regulation of enormous variety of proteolytic processes inside the insect body. They mostly belong to serpin, Kunitz- and Kazal - serine PI families. Insect haemolymph is also rich in cystatins from cysteine PI family. We are working on characterization of PIs from different insect tissues and organs, like salivary glands, gut and haemolymph. Another important source of PIs is a silk produced by labial glands of lepidopteran larvae where the PIs probably protect the silk fibre from microbial decomposition. Studying of insect originated PIs may resulted in isolation of new compounds with high economic potential that could be used in medicine, crop protection and biotechnology.
Supported by grant MZ-NAZV QI91A229
PI: Konstantin Vinokurov
The basic aim of the project proposal is study of influence of global warming on the biodiversity changes of bloodsucking insects (namely mosquitoes) and a spectrum of microbial pathogens. Consequently to prepare data useable in nature conservation, health protection and for its adequate authorities.
PI. Ivan Gelbič
The project is directed on a study of the development and secretory activities of male accessory glands with a stress on elucidation of their role in the spermatophore formation, and in other reproductive processes including a haematophagous behaviour of blood-sucking insects.
PI: Ivan Gelbič