Institute of Cell Biology National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Major fields of scientific work of the Institute:
- Study of the molecular-genetic and biochemical mechanisms of the regulation of metabolism in yeasts and development of new biotechnological processes and products based on these microorganisms.
- Research in molecular mechanisms of the regulation of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis of normal and tumor cells. Development of new anticancer therapies.
In frame of its research directions the Institute conducts basic and applied research of international value, as demonstrated by the following examples:
- Мolecular mechanisms of autophagic degradation of proteins and organelles using yeast models are being investigated. The obtained data expanded the knowledge necessary to formulate concepts of the molecular mechanisms of organelle homeostasis and autophagic degradation in the cell.
- Using methods of genetic engineering bacterial strain which efficiently produces argininedeiminase, a potential anticancer drug, has been constructed. Processes for argininedeiminase re-activation and purification were optimized resulting in the technology for production of this enzyme.
- Basic research on molecular mechanisms regulating the biosynthesis of vitamin B2 and glutathione was conducted. The obtained results were applied for the development of microbial platforms for the oversynthesis of biologically active compounds. Efficient producers of vitamin B2 and flavin cofactors were constructed.
- The development of microbial producers of biofuel ethanol from lignocellulose wastes of agriculture and wood industry (not from raw food material) was conducted. Unique genetically engineered yeast strains capable of fermenting xylose, one of the constituents of lignocelluloses, were created.
- Experiments directed on efficient expression of hydrogenases’ genes in bacteria that are able to produce hydrogen, a very promising and environmentally friendly source of energy, were conducted.
- The technology of obtaining gold nanoparticles conjugated with different enzymes is being developed and structural studies of bio-nano dimensional products are carried using scanning and transmission microscopy, atomic force microscopy and X-ray diffraction at small-angle scattering . The significant gain of ability of oxidoreductase to direct (without transmission) transfer of electrons from the catalytic center to the electrode surface through gold nanoparticles (flavocytochrome b2 amperometric signal gain can be increased for 10-22 times) was demonstrated, what opens the possibility of creating a third generation biosensors without transmission.
- New enzyme-fluorescence methods for analysis of L-arginine with recombinant arginine-hydrolyzing enzymes, human arginase I and bacterial argininedeiminase, were created, important for cancer diagnostics and monitoring of some therapies.
- An experimental model of amperometric biosensor for the analysis of toxic formaldehyde in industrial chemical products and vaccines was developed.
- Diagnostic kits "DIAGLUC" and "ALCOTEST" for enzymatic determination of glucose, alcohol and immunological reagents for forensic and transfusion medicine were designed at the Institute and implemented into production.
- It was found that delivery of doxorubicine and other anticancer drugs by novel polymeric carriers, which were synthesized at Lviv National Polytechnic University, decreased therapeutic dose of drugs up to 10 times in both in vitro and in vivo experiments. Besides, such drug delivery reduced their negative side effects in a treated organism. Thus, immobilization of anticancer drugs on novel polymeric carriers is a promising strategy for enhancing drug action in vitro and in vivo, especially when targeting chemoresistant tumor cells.
- The molecular mechanisms underlying the appearance of two distinct and previously unknown types of apoptotic blebs were established. The discovered specific molecular markers, oligomannose glycans exposed at cell surface, were used for identification of apoptotic cells. Their identification was the basis for the developed express method for dying cell detection in microvolume of human blood.
- New type of catalytic antibodies (abzymes) with unique properties, histone H1 and sialic acid cleavage, were described and thier presence was proven to have a diagnostic and prognostic impact for different autoimmune and hematooncological diseases.
- New combinational approaches to anticancer metabolic therapy based on recombinant enzymes hydrolyzing amino acid arginine have been proposed. t It was demonstrated for the first time that the sensitivity of various types of human tumor cells to starvation for individual amino acids dramatically differs in standard 2D monolayer and 3D spheroid tumor cultures, and is accompanied by specific remodeling of tumor cell’s cytoskeleton.
- Efficient unique yeast producers of recombinant human arginase I as anticancer agent have been constructed.
The Institute is active in organizing important international conferences. Two Parnas conferences were held at the Institute in 1996 and 2000. The 21-st International Specialized Symposium on Yeasts "Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology and Ecology of Non-conventional Yeasts (ISSY2001)" was held in the Institute in 2001.
Institute was the organizer of 12 th International Congress on Yeasts in 2008.
In 2004, the Institute was the convener of the Founding Congress of the Ukrainian Society of Cell Biology.