Department of Biochemistry

Head: dr hab. Katarzyna Piwocka, prof. nadzw.


The Department of Biochemistry is composed of nine groups and associated Laboratory of Cytometry. Individual programs are engaged within the common research area of molecular mechanisms of civilization diseases, including metabolic and mitochondrial diseases, cancer, aging, myopathies and others.


Molecular mechanisms involved in regulation of cell metabolism and the development of insulin resistance and pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction are studied by Prof. A. Dobrzyń group. In particular, they investigate signaling and transcriptional cascades as well as the role of epigenetics in human metabolic diseases, mainly type 2 diabetes.


Physiology of mitochondria in metabolic, neurodegenerative diseases and in cancer are studied by the group led by Prof. Duszynski. They focus on the mechanisms of mitochondrial stress signaling, mitochondrial dynamic processes including transport, fusion/fission and mitophagy, as well as the role of the oxidative stress in these diseases.


Energy metabolism and calcium homeostasis in normal and pathological conditions are studied by group led by Prof. Zabłocki. In particular, mechanisms responsible for regulation of calcium signaling in dystrophic muscle cells and mitochondria-related processes in vascular endothelial cells challenged by pathological stimuli are investigated.


Mitochondrial  ion  channels are  investigated  by  Prof. Szewczyk’s group. In particular, they study pharmacology of intracellular potassium channels, interaction of channel openers with mitochondrial proteins and the role of ion translocating mechanisms in cytoprotection and cardiovascular function during health and disease.


The cellular and molecular mechanisms of heart dysfunction are investigated by Prof. P. Dobrzyń group. The research involves in vivo and in vitro studies of signaling pathways and transcription factors associated with cardiomyocyte apoptosis and pathogenesis of the left ventricle hypertrophy.


Calcium-  and  lipid-binding  proteins,  including  annexins, mechanism of the early stages of biomineralization with a focus on biogenesis and function of matrix vesicles as well as intracellular transport of cholesterol in norm and pathology are investigated by Prof. Pikula’s team.


The role of cell senescence in normal and pathological ageing  of  the  organism  are  studied  by  Prof.  Sikora’s  team. Particularly, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of stress induced senescence, autophagy and cell death of normal and cancer cells are investigated.


Mechanisms of cell motility in physiology and pathology are studied by Prof. Redowicz's group. They investigate involvement of the actin and tubulin cytoskeleton and unconventional myosins in cell migration and invasion, and muscle contraction as well. Also, mechanisms of engagement of prion protein in pathogenesis of prion and Alzheimer diseases are in focus.


Microtubular motor proteins, kinesins and their structure and function relationship are investigated by Prof. Kasprzak’s team. They study the role of the End- Binding protein 1 in the microtubule tip-tracking of kinesin-14 and the influence of posttranslational modifications of tubulin on the interaction between microtubules and kinesins.


Cellular stern response and cross-talk within the leukemia microenvironment are studied at the Laboratory of Cytometry led by Prof. K. Piwocka. They focus on the molecular mechanisms participating in the disease progression and modification of the leukemia microenvironment to propose novel therapeutic strategies.


Selected publications:

Dąbrowska-Maś E., Frączyk T., Ruman T., Radziszewska K., Wilk P., Cieśla J., Zieliński Z., Jurkiewicz A., Gołos B., Wińska P., Wałajtys-Rode E., Leś A., Nizioł J., Jarmuła A., Stefanowicz P., Szewczuk Z., Rode W. (2012) Tyrosine nitration affects thymi- dylate synthase properties. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 10: 323-331.

Domon M., Nasir M.N., Matar G., Pikuła S., Besson F., Bandorowicz-Pikuła J. (2012) Annexins as organizers of cholesterol- and spingomyelin-enriched membrane microdomains in Niemann-Pick type C disease. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 69: 1773-1785.

Drabarek B., Dymkowska D., Szczepanowska J., Zabłocki K. (2012) “TNFα affects energy metabolism and stimulates biogen- esis of mitochondria in EA.hy926 endothelial cells”. International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 44: 1390-1397.

Kajma A., Szewczyk A. (2012) A new pH-sensitive rectifying potassium channel in mitochondria from the embryonic rat hippocampus. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1817: 1867-1878.

Korwek Z., Sewastianik T., Bielak-Żmijewska A., Mosieniak G., Alster O., Moreno-Villaneuva M., Burkle A., Sikora E. (2012) Inhi- bition of ATM blocks the etoposide-induced DNA damage response and apoptosis of resting human T cells. DNA Repair, 11: 864-873.

Majewski Ł., Sobczak M., Havrylov S., Jóźwiak J., Rędowicz M.J. (2012) Dock7: A GEF for Rho-family GTPases and a novel myosin VI binding partner in neuronal PC12 cells. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 90: 565-574.

Szczęsna E., Kasprzak A.A. (2012) The C-terminus of kinesin-14 Ncd is a crucial component of the force generating mecha- nism, FEBS Letters, 586: 854-858.

Osiecka K.M., Nieznańska H., Skowronek K.J., Nieznański K. (2011) Tau inhibits tubulin oligomerization induced by prion protein. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1813: 1845-1853

Dobrzyń P., Dobrzyń A., Miyazaki M., Ntambi J.M. (2010) Loss of stearoyl-CoA desaturase1 rescues cardiac function in obese leptin-deficient mice. Journal of Lipid Research, 51: 2202-2210.

Giorgi C., Ito K., Lin H.K., Santangelo C., Więckowski M.R., Lebiedzińska M., Bononi A., Bonora M., Duszyński J., Bernardi R., Rizzuto R., Tacchetti C., Pinton P., Pandolfi P.P. (2010) PML regulates apoptosis at endoplasmic reticulum by modulating calcium release. Science, 330:1247-1251