Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology of Bacteria

The department is headed by Professor B.S. Naroditskiy, Doctor of Biological Science.

The department was created by Academician V.D. Timakov, who headed it for over 20 years.  Then, until 2000, the department was headed by Professor A.G. Skavronskaya, Academician of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.  The main directions of the department's work were determined by V.D. Timakov: genetic and molecular biological research focused on revealing the genetic basis of bacterial functions that determine the viability of bacteria, their mutability and pathogenic action.  A number of prominent scientists are associated with the history of the department: G.B. Smirnov, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences; professors D.G.Kudlai, V.G.Petrovskaya, B.N.Ilyashenko, V.S. Levashev, and V.N. Gershanovich.

Laboratory of Biologically Active Nanostructures (with a group for biological testing of nanostructures on animals)

The laboratory is headed by V.G. Lunin, Doctor of Biological Science.

This laboratory was created in 2007 under the auspices of one of the center’s oldest laboratories - the laboratory for genetic regulation of biochemical processes, founded as a laboratory for biochemical genetics on the initiative of Academician V.D. Timakov in 1966 and permanently headed for almost 40 years by one of his colleagues, Professor V. N. Gershanovich.

It was the first molecular biological laboratory established by the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences.  Its work was chiefly directed toward the search for genes encoding enzymes of bacterial metabolism.  Since the beginning of the 70s, the laboratory has studied the effect of vector carbohydrate metabolism on the physiology of a microbial cell.  Molecular biological studies have made it possible to develop a new conception of the functioning of the phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system - as a regulatory system that allows bacteria to adapt to changes in the environment through changes in their metabolism.

Today the laboratory is focused on the development of a new generation of subunit candidate nanovaccines based on the principle of the self-assembling of proteins on a matrix of natural polysaccharide nanoscaffolds (glycan, peptidoglycan, and chitin).  The self-assembly of vaccine nanoparticles is carried out using the binding affinity of polysaccharide-binding protein domains (covalently linked to protein domains with value for vaccine production ) with a polysaccharide nanoscaffold.  Purification, concentration and immobilization of protein particles takes place concurrently with self-assembly. These protein particles are fragments of the membranes of pathogenic viruses and bacteria and other components on the nanoscale with value for vaccine production.

A separate area of ​​work involves the creation of new-generation diagnostic kits based on the use of fluorescently labeled nanoparticles carrying acceptor molecules (antigens or antibodies) on their surface.  The preparation of nanoparticles involves self-assembly, which results from the affinity interaction of the polysaccharide-binding domain with the cellulose shell of the nanoparticle covalently attached to the acceptor molecule.

The laboratory is working on the development of planar biochips and diagnosticums - plates on the surface of which receptors for the desired substances (antigens or antibodies) are arranged regularly. The immobilization of molecular nanosensors on the biochip substrate results from the affinity interaction of a polysaccharide-binding domain covalently attached to the receptor protein molecule with the cellulose surface of the substrate.

Laboratory for Genetic Engineering of Pathogenic Microorganisms

The laboratory is headed by Professor A.L. Ginzburg, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The laboratory’s main directions of research are:

  • Genetic mechanisms of the reversible process of formation by pathogenic bacteria of resting, or "uncultivated" forms.

  • Mechanisms of interaction of pathogenic bacteria with the host organism.  The influence of host immune defense factors on the activation of pathogenic bacteria.

  • Development of PCR-based diagnostic test systems for identifying causative agents of human infectious diseases.

In recent years, important results have been obtained on the genetic control of the formation of dormant (unculturable) forms by pathogenic bacteria, as well as on the environmental factors and host organism that contribute to the reversible transition of bacteria to the unculturable and, conversely, from the unculturable to the active state of growth and reproduction.

Laboratory of Molecular Biotechnology

The laboratory is headed by M.M. Shmarov, Doctor of Biological Science.

The laboratory is developing vector systems based on adenoviruses to ensure the efficient expression of genes of various pathogens in eukaryotic cells.  The laboratory is studying the possibility of using genetically engineered constructs and their combinations for the genetic immunization of humans and animals.

In the course of research, original vector constructs based on the human adenovirus of the 5th serotype were developed, expressing genes of protective antigens of the influenza and rabies viruses.  Experiments on mice demonstrated 80-100% protection of animals from the corresponding pathogens after a single immunization with vector genetic constructs obtained in the laboratory.

Laboratory for Genome Analysis

The laboratory is headed by Associate Professor Olga L. Voronina, PhD in Biological Science.

The laboratory was established in 2012 in response to the relevance and importance of research in molecular epidemiology and clinical microbiology using methods based on the full and partial sequencing of genomes of microorganisms, and for further development of this area, as well as molecular biological research and bioinformatic analysis as part of the "Innovative Development of Healthcare" target program.

Laboratory of Immunobiotechnology

The laboratory is headed by D.V. Shcheblyakov, PhD in Biological Science.

The laboratory was created in 2014 under the auspices of the Laboratory of Molecular Biotechnology’s immunobiotechnology group.

The main lines of work of the laboratory are the following:

  • Research into the role of the inborn immunity receptor system (TLR) in the formation of bodily defense reactions on contact with pathogenic microorganisms. The involvement of transcription factor NF-kB in the regulation of expressions of TLR2 and its adaptor molecules has been established in experimental in vitro and in vivo research. In the model of bacterial infection with S. typhimurium the role of NF-kB-dependent expression TLR2 (a receptor with a wide range of identified pathogen-associated molecular patterns) has been shown in the formation of reaction barriers for the organism on invasion of the pathogen. Research is carried out in cooperation with the Cell Stress Laboratory at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo, USA, Head of Laboratory - Dr. A.V Gudkov).

  • Research into the role of the inborn immunity system in repair processes. It has been shown that local activation of TLR4 using bacterial lipopolysaccharide results in a selective increase in secretions of the range of mediators involved in the repair process, including CC chemokines, proinflammatory cytokines and factors of growth in the area of wound defects, stimulating the infiltration of the wound with macrophages, increasing angiogenesis and collagen formation dependent on dose. Research has lead to development of a medicinal product for treatment of chronic wounds and ulcers, including those caused by diabetes, which is currently in the second phase of clinical trials.

  • Use of single-strand, single-domain antibodies (nanoantibodies) as well as recombinant adenoviral vectors expressing the nanoantibody for diagnosis and treatment of viral and bacterial infections. Genetic vectors have been constructed in the laboratory that carry nanoantibody genes that are specific to different pathogens of viral (flu, rabies) and bacterial (M. hominis) origin. In vivo experiments have shown virus-neutralizing activity and protectiveness of medicinal products obtained on models of infection by the flu virus and bacterial infection M. hominis. Approaches to the increase in affinity of antibodies to specific epitopes are in development, as well as methods of additional modifications of nanoantibodies for increasing their potential for use in treatment.

Results of research have been published in significant journals in Russia and around the world. Main and additional research is supported by grants from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.