1. Bacterial ribonucleases.
Contacts: Prof. Dr. Olga Ilinskaya, Dr. Pavel Zelenikhin
Ribonucleases (RNases) play a key role in RNA metabolism. They are involved in host defense and physiological cell death pathways. A single cell can contain as many as 20 distinct RNases with different or overlapping specificities. RNases can be components of supramolecular complexes and function in concert with other enzymes. RNases possess therapeutic opportunities for cancer and viral infection treatment.We study molecular determinants and targets of RNase cytotoxic action with a special emphasis on RNases of microbial origin.
Binase (Bacillus intermedius RNase) was the first bacterial RNase that demonstrated noticeable apoptogenic activity against cancer cells. Binase possesses cytotoxic and cytostatic activity against malignant cells comparable to the activity of eukaryotic RNases and it has low immunogenicity. We have shown that binase induces selective apoptosis of fibroblasts transformed with ras oncogene and of myeloid progenitor cells transformed with activated c-kit oncogene. Binase affects gene expression and is a regulator of RNA-dependent processes of cell proliferation and apoptosis. We continue our study of binase-induced biological effects towards tumor and H1N1-infected cells and try to explain molecular mechanisms of selective binase antitumor and antiviral activity.
We are working in collaboration with Institute of Molecular Biology (Moscow), Oncological hospital of Tatarstan Republic (Kazan) and Giessen University (Germany).
2. Microbial proteases.
Contacts: Prof. Dr. Margarita Sharipova
Bacillus pumilus produces the extracellular proteases after the end of the exponential growth phase, and among those enzymes, the alkaline proteases encoded by aprBp and gseBp are the major ones and the minor one is metalloproteinase (mprBp). The mechanism of their expression has attracted interest in terms of gene expression, since these proteases are members of the most important groups of industrial enzymes produced commercially and are used in various industrial, medicine sectors, such as detergents, leather, and silver recovery from X-ray films, fibrinolytic/thrombolytic agents.
In our laboratory, we have a long-standing interest in studying the regulation of gene expression of Bacillus pumilus proteases and their expression systems construction. During our investigations the enzymes we have been isolating in homogenous form, and their properties have been thoroughly studying. Nowadays our work is focused on the describing of the mechanisms of the enzymes' biosynthesis, the proteinases-encoding genes cloning and sequencing. We also test proteinases activity for fibrinolytic therapies: the analysis of thrombolytic, fibrinolytic and anticoagulant properties of enzymes was shown their efficiency to lyse arterial and cardiac clots.
3. Stress-inducing alteration of microorganisms
Contacts: Dr. Anna Margulis
We study the stress-induced response of microorganisms to stressors of different nature. It is important to define the criteria for the transition of cells in the hypometabolic state to create the system for the metabolic status control of microorganisms and their functional activities. We have shown that various biological, chemical and physical stressors can cause similar cellular reactions, like alterations of cell's and colonies morphology and enzymatic activities of bacterial cells. We have shown that microbial autoregulators contribute to the transition into the hypometabolic state of gram-negative as well of gram-positive microorganisms.
4. Probiotics optimization.
Contacts: Dr. Dina Yarullina
Probiotics are defined by FAO/WHO as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. These microbes improve the intestinal microflora, promote the intestinal integrity and mobility, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and stimulate the resistance to infection. Yet the exact mechanisms of such probiotics activity remain largely unknown. We are focusing of finding out the explanations of such mechanisms using the bacterial model of lactobacilli which are regarded as the most important group of probiotic bacteria. We also isolate new strains of Lactobacillus and evaluate them for probiotic effects such as the ability to survive in the gastrointestinal tract, persistence in the host, adhesion, etc. Finally, these strains will provide the basis of the new probiotic drugs which we develop in collaboration with the Laboratory for Cryochemistry of (Bio)Polymers of Nesmeyanov Institute of Element-Organic Compounds RAS (Moscow).
5. Mechanisms of xenobiotics genotoxicicty; antimutagenesis and cancer prevention.
Contacts: Dr. Nazira Karamova
Nowadays humans are continuously exposed to a variety of physical and in particular artificially synthesized chemical mutagens. The germ line mutations are responsible for causing hereditary diseases. Mutations in somatic cells are involved in the carcinogenesis and also play a role in the pathogenesis of other degenerative diseases such as heart diseases, atherosclerosis and other.
The practical use of medicines and food additives consisting of natural antimutagens is a perspective approach for preventing human cancer and genetic disorders. We provide a research works on the study of genotoxic effects and mutagenic activity of xenobiotics, natural substances and samples of natural complexes (soil, water) as well.
The second direction of research work is focused on understanding mechanisms of antimutagenic and anticancer activities of natural substances. We study the antigenotoxic potential of juices, extracts of medicinal plants, growing in the Volga region of Russia as well as an ability of Lactic acid bacteria to inhibit the mutagenicity of synthesized chemical mutagens.
6. Biogas and biofuel.
Contacts: Dr. Ayrat Ziganshin
Our research investigates the transformation and degradation of nitroaromatic xenobiotics (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, 2,4,6-trinitrophenol, 2,4,6-trinitrobenzoic acid, dinitrotoluenes) by bacteria and fungi in the absence and in the presence of iron-containing minerals. Our study is of significance for the prospective bioremediation of sites contaminated with polynitroaromatics under distinct environmental conditions.
We are also investigating the anaerobic digestion of different substrates with biogas production. The diversity and development of bacterial and archaeal communities involved in this anaerobic process are analyzed by molecular methods targeting 16S rRNA genes and some functional molecular marker genes. The improvement of bioavailability of lignocellulosic feedstocks for biogas synthesis is investigated as well. In addition, we develop biotechnologies for biofuels production from microalgae and cyanobacteria.
7. Phytases for agriculture
Contacts: Mukhametzyanova Aliya (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Phytases have a wide distribution in plants, micro-organisms, and in some animal tissues. Although some microbial phytases have been characterized, commercial production currently focuses on the fungus phytases. However, due to some properties, bacterial phytases can be the better alternative. Therefore, there is ongoing interest in screening bacteria for novel and efficient phytases.
In our research group, we are studying bacterial phytases isolated from the soil samples of Tatarstan Republic. During our work Bacillus and Pantoea phytases were isolated, purified and characterized. Bacillus subtilis 168 phytase gene was knocked-out, changes in mutant strain physiology were studied. Today we are mainly focused on three industrial applications of phytase enzymes and phytase-producing strains: feed additives, biofertilizers, and inositol phosphates production.
8. Bionanotechnology and Biomaterials
Contacts: Prof. Dr. Rawil F. Fakhrullin
Novel materials, such as various types of nanoparticles, nanotubes and their aggregates, especially of biological origin, are a promising tool in the areas of biological imaging, sensing and functionalization. Our group is developing novel colloidal microcapsules and planar thin films aiming to produce biosensors, means for plants protection and drug carriers with controlled release rate. We focus mainly on a variety of biological polymers and colloidal particles as components of thin films as coatings on planar and spherical surfaces. A special attention is given to coating of various living cells with polymer multilayers and nanoparticles (including gold, silver, magnetic and carbon nanospheres and nanotubes). Currently, we run innovative projects on magnetically-mediated tissue engineering and toxicity of nanomaterials.
As a part of the Department of Microbiology, we offer a range of BSc and MSc degree research projects (combined with taught BSc and MSc programs of the Department of Microbiology). Students working within our group are given a good opportunity to be involved in interdisciplinary research projects and to get acquainted with modern experimental techniques, in addition, students take part in international and national scientific conferences and summer schools.