department of biotechnology

Proteins from mushrooms

Basidiomycetes form a class of higher fungi that includes most mushrooms and mushroom-forming species. Mushrooms constitute a new and mostly untapped source of natural compounds, many of which are probably unique to them. Our group deals with isolation of potentially applicable proteins from many mushrooms but mostly from clouded agaric (Clitocybe nebularis) and parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera). Our research is directed towards two groups of proteins: peptidase inhibitors and lectins.

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lektini cartoon

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Our aim is to isolate new and unknown proteins from mushrooms and to characterize them in detail at the biochemical and genetic levels, and particularly at the level of their biological role. Natural isolates usually include a heterogeneous group of proteins with similar properties. Therefore, heterologous expression of mushroom proteins in bacterial expression systems is indispensable, as it enables us to obtain material that is homogenous, independently of the mushroom growing season.

Mushroom proteins exhibit unique characteristics that distinguish them from similar proteins from other sources. We take advantage of their unique characteristics to investigate their potential applications in human and veterinary medicine, in protection and improvement of agricultural crops, in biotechnological processes and in the pharmaceutical industry.

Research areas include:
  • isolation of proteins from mushrooms,
  • characterization at the biochemical and genetic levels, including three dimensional structure (the latter in collaboration with Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Structural Biology - B1),
  • heterologous expression in bacterial and yeast expression systems,
  • investigation of immunomodulatory and anticancer activities,
  • investigation of control activities against various agricultural pests,
  • determination of activity mechanisms at the molecular and organism levels.

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Jerica Sabotič

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