Julius Lukeš: Diplonemids - New Kids on the Oceanic Block

23. 11. 2017, University Campus Bohunice

About the lecture

Diplonemids, a sister clade of kinetoplastid flagellates, were recently identified as the most diverse marine eukaryotes which also rank as the 6th most abundant eukaryotic group. However, only a very few species have been described and we know nothing about their life style. To fill the large gap in our knowledge, we embarked on the studies of diplonemid diversity and distribution, morphology and life cycles. We are also assembling and annotating their transcriptomes and genomes that share some features with related kinetoplastids, but differ from them by f.e. abundant presence of introns. We are also trying to get representative species into the culture. Moreover, we were recently able to transform Diplonema papillatum and are turning it into a tractable organism suitable for functional analyses.

Prof. Julius Lukeš

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre CAS, Czech Republic

  • Our primary interest is functional analysis of selected mitochondrial proteins of the kinetoplastid Trypanosoma brucei. Its mitochondrion is unique in many aspects and by knocking-down or knocking-in individual genes, we are trying to establish their functions. We have focused on (i) proteins involved in RNA editing and regulation of stability of mitochondrial transcripts, (ii) subunits of respiratory complexes, (iii) iron/sulfur cluster assembly proteins, (iv) prohibitin. We are also interested in the evolution and biodiversity of parasitic kinetoplastid flagellates, as well as involved in the genotyping of European leishmaniases and designing new diagnostic approaches for their detection. Moreover, we are trying to improve a new expression system in Leishmania tarentolae.
  • Laboratory webpage: http://www.paru.cas.cz/en/sections/molecular-parasitology/laboratory-of-molecular-biology-of-protists/