FCCT Biochemistry Lab:Research

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Our fields of interest are:

Proteinases & their inhibitors (Brigita Lenarčič, Marko Novinec)

This field of reasearch started as a long-lasting cooperation with the J. Stefan Institute (JSI) in Ljubljana, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology where Professor Vito Turk was heading a programme on Proteolysis and its regulation. Brigita is dealing with a group of inhibitors called Thyropins. Together with her postgraduate students at the JSI she managed to obtain recombinant thyropins and determine several interesting biochemical properties of these proteins.

Extracellular matrix (Brigita Lenarčič, Miha Pavšič, Marko Novinec)

A rather new and interesting topic that covers events at the cell surface, cell adhesion molecules and the world of extracellular matrix. It probably started with identification of several multi-domain proteins that interact with proteases. Some of these were composed of modules that very much resembled proteinase inhibitors - a topic that we knew from before very well...

Molecular evolution (Vera Župunski, Nika Lovšin / Nataša Lindič)

Work on this subject is another cooperation with J. Stefan Institute programme on Toxins and biomembranes (head: Professor Igor Krizaj). As a side project we investigated antiretroviral proteins.

Nuclear trafficking (Vera Župunski)

A new project that aims at understanding nuclear import and export.

Humanization of monoclonal antibodies (Marko Dolinar)

A cooperation with the Blood Transfusion Centre of Slovenia (BTCS), group of Professor Vladka Čurin Šerbec, started in 2007. BTCS has developed a series of murine monoclonal antibodies against human prion protein that have interesting binding properties and we have shown that they could be used as therapeutic antibodies.

Cyanobacterial biotechnology (Marko Dolinar, Nejc Jelen)

Cyanobacterial cells are evolutionary important microorganisms that didn't tell their last story yet. They can be consumed (as food supplement), they can produce fine chemicals and they can be a new source of renewable energy. We believe that the major obstacle for their wider exploitation is lack of user-friendly strains and protocols that would make work with cyanobacteria similarly easy and straightforward as that with E. coli. (read more...)

Plasmid engineering (Marko Dolinar, Nejc Jelen)

Plasmids are the prime gene vehicles in bacterial biotechnology. Understanding their mode of action is essential for designing improved vectors. We have successfully designed and built a synthetic biology based expression vectors we further used for production of single-chain antibody fragments in E. coli. Recently, we have constructed a hybrid shuttle vector that combines sequences of a cyanobacterial cryptic plasmid and of a synthetic biology vector. This is how we plunged into the sofisticated world of cryptic plasmids that cyanobacteria collected in course of evolution. (read more...)

Structural biology (Gregor Gunčar)

With reasonably good crystallization eqipment and knowledge and being located close to laboratories and institutions with strong beam sources, we can produce crystals, perform measurements and interprete data to develop protein structures which help us understand biological roles and interactions of a range of important proteins.

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