Department of Biophysics and Electrophysiology (DBE) investigates calcium transporting ion channels in neurons and in heart. In neurons we investigate pharmacological and non-pharmacological regulation of their excitability. We analyse mechanisms of action of drugs like antidepressants and mood regulators. Also, we investigate excitability alterations caused by external influences, either positive, e.g., a physical exercise, or negative, e.g., an inflammation. The aim is to address possible replacement of drug therapy by a positive external intervention (exercise) and/or possible alleviation of negative influences (inflammation) by a drug treatment. Further, we use site-specific mutagenesis of voltage-dependent calcium channels to investigate structural determinants of channel gating and permeation, and their modulation by pharmacological substances. In addition, we focus on the implementation of the current knowledge on the protein function-structure relationships in combination with bioinformatics methods to identify regulatory domains of cardiac calcium channels, even in the absence of their atomic 3D-structure.
Department of Biochemistry and Cytochemistry (DBC) studies the development of multidrug resistance of leukemic cells and the options for manipulationg this process. The most frequent cause of multidrug resistance is elevated expression of transport proteins of the gene family of ABC membrane transporters. These integral proteins of the plasma membrane have the ability to remove cytotoxic compounds from the intracellular environment and so protect the cells from the toxic stress from the environment. In tumor cells, the amount of ABC transporters is sometimes overly increased under the influence of therapy, thus decreasing the efficacy of antitumor drugs and preventing successful chemotherapy. Knowing the regulatory processes will enable improvement of pharmacotherapy of certain cancers and of the economics of treatment.