Insights into pathogenicity of leucocytozoonoses

Projects leader: habil. dr. Gediminas Valkiūnas

Postdoc researcher: dr. Carolina R. F. Chagas

Postdoc duration: 2021.06.15 – 2023.06.14

Postdoc No.: 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-23-0010

 

The effect of increasing cold on the dynamics of polyamine biosynthesis in winter oilseed rape and the scope its control

Projects leader: dr. Petras Prakas

Postdoc researcher: dr. Elžbieta Jankovska-Bortkevič

Postdoc duration: 2021.06.15–2023.07.14

Postdoc No.: 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-23-0166

Funding source: the activity is funded under Measure 09.3.3-LMT-K-712 “Development of Scientific Competences of Scientists, other Researchers and Students through Practical Research Activities” (Funding instrument – European Social Fund).

Adverse environmental factors have a significant impact on the growth and productivity of economically important agricultural crops. One of the main challenges of modern agriculture is to improve plant productivity in adverse environmental conditions, and one of the most important areas of science is research of the mechanism of plant stress and its management. In order to reduce the impact of adverse environmental conditions, much attention is paid to biologically active substances. Polyamines have been shown to be involved in plant response to environmental influences. Studies have shown that intensified polyamine biosynthesis in transgenic plants and exogenous effects of polyamines increase plant tolerance to stress; mutations in polyamine biosynthesis and inhibition of their biosynthesis result in less tolerance to abiotic stress. In this fundamental and applied research, the use of molecular methods will increase the understanding of specific polyamine mechanisms and signal transduction pathways under optimal and stressful conditions in winter oilseed rape and will provide information for the development of biotechnological solutions. In parallel, an analysis of abiotic stress markers and an assessment of biometric characteristics and plant survival will be performed. The results of the study will complement the scientific knowledge about the plant's response to the cold. Based on the results obtained, science-based recommendations will be developed.

Project publicity

Molecular diagnosis of Sarcocystis species from sheep and goat

Projects leader: (HP) dr. Dalius Butkauskas

Postdoc researcher: dr. Alina Marandykina-Prakienė

Postdoc duration: 2021.07.15 – 2023.07.14

Postdoc No.: 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-23-0064

Funding source: the activity is funded under Measure 09.3.3-LMT-K-712 “Development of Scientific Competences of Scientists, other Researchers and Students through Practical Research Activities” (Funding instrument – European Social Fund).

Representatives of the genus Sarcocystis (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) are protozaons widespread globally in mammals, birds and reptiles. These parasites are characterized by a two-host, prey-predator life cycle. Sarcocysts are formed in muscles and CNS of the intermediate host, while sporocysts develop in small intestine of the definitive host. Some of Sarcocystis spp. found in sheep and goats are pathogenic. Due to the intense Sarcocystis infection wool and meat production is reduced and industry lose millions annually. The Sarcocystis species diversity in these animals has not been fully elucidated. Typically, Sarcocystis species are identified by isolating sarcocysts from muscle and characterizing them genetically. However, isolation of sarcocysts is not effective in epidemiological studies. In this work, diaphragm, oesophageal, and heart samples from sheep and goats will be examined. The objective of the study is to develop a rapid and efficient molecular methodology for the identification of Sarcocystis species in sheep meat and goat meat by muscle digestion, PCR and sequencing. The distribution, genetic variability and morphological characteristics of the detected species will also be assessed. Due to the lack of studies on Sarcocystis in goats, new Sarcocystis species are expected to be described in these hosts. The molecular diagnostic methodology, developed and optimized in this work, after modification will be applicable in other economically important animals.