The “White team” is involved in the synthesis of tailored bioactive oligosaccharides and glycomimetics through either chemical or enzymatic methods or using a combination of both. Conveniently, it utilizes a broad spectrum of knowledge from in silico molecular modelling, molecular biology, protein expression and purification, enzymology, nanomaterial science, glycobiology, and, primarily, carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry. The group keeps a large library of glycosidases (ca 200 items) and collection of production microorganisms, which are crucial asset for our activities. An important part represents rigorous analysis by LC-MS and advanced HPLC methods. The activities of prepared compounds, e.g., their affinity to lectins, inhibition of carbohydrate-active enzymes etc., are tested in house with recombinantly produced proteins by various methods including surface plasmon resonance, ELISA-type assays or specific assays in cell cultures.
The main scientific interest of the Yellow team are the flavonolignans from silymarin (extract from milk thistle seeds) – their chemistry, chemical and enzymatic modification, separation and characterization. In the last years the particular focus shifted from the main silymarin component – silybin – to the less abundant and so far neglected natural products – silychristin, silydianin, 2,3-dehydroflavonolignans, hydnocarpins and their derivatives that are at present investigated (as leads) for their effect on the cardiovascular system and inhibitory activities towards multidrug transporters. Moreover, the metabolic fate of silymarin components in the human body is studied ex vivo (liver microsomes, fecal microflora) and in vivo with a focus on potential inter-individual variation.
The focus of the “Blue team” are the enzymes of nitrile metabolism (nitrilases, aldoxime dehydratases) and tyrosinases and their biocatalytic exploitation. The general strategy consists in databases searches, heterologous gene expression, enzyme characterization and investigation of its potential for biotransformations of industrially important compounds or biodegradation of environmental pollutants.
Fundamental methodology pillars guaranteed by senior experts support the entire research in the group: molecular biology and GMO (Kotik), preparative HPLC (Biedermann), HPLC and LC-MS (Petrásková), microbiology and strain collection (Slámová), nanomaterial science (Bojarová). Solid infrastructure of the group, consisting i.a. of a modern instrumentation – HPLC (5 instruments and LC-MS), GLC (2×), protein chromatography (3× Äkta), spectrophotometers, shakers, molecular biology equipment, microscopes etc. – enables high quality research employing up-to-date methods.