Laboratory of Nucleic Acid Biochemistry

Keywords: RNA viruses, reverse genetics, virus evolution, antivirals

Group is actively engaged in research focused on two main directions: yeast dsRNA viruses: cloning, curing, reconstruction, evolution and ecology and nucleoside/nucleotide based antivirals for retroviruses.

Research group activities

Yeast dsRNA viruses: cloning, curing, reconstruction, evolution and ecology.

Genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic consequences of dsRNA viruses on host cell are interpreted as model framework to establish universal mechanisms behind any virus of interest, so creating a paradigm network for virus-host interactions. Totivi­ridae family viruses from yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and closely related yeast are being investigated by means of modern molecular biology techniques, involving advanced level manipu­lations on genomic material, its cloning, sequencing and further comparative analysis. We aim at understanding of intra- and ex­tracellular relations of yeast dsRNA viruses in order to elucidate evolutionary pathways of these viruses and uncover principles of distribution within an ecosystem.

Nucleoside/nucleotide based antivirals for retroviruses.

Nucleoside/nucleotide based antivirals constitute an essence of modern high efficacy antiretroviral (HIV, for instance) treat­ment. While being a game-changer treatment upon discovery, nowadays it suffers from emerging resistance and multiple side effects due to life-long administration. Recently, innovative and more advanced measures against genuine retroviral replication enzymes have been proposed and substantiated. The aim of our research is to develop compounds active at level of catalytic cycle of retroviral replication enzymes, linking an exclusive spe-cificity and efficacy into binding approach.

 

Proposal 

We are looking for:

  • Collaboration calls for basic and applied research in area of RNA virus research, namely cloning of viral genomic RNA, virus promoter discovery and related analysis.
  • Partnership for participation in ERC, HORIZON 2020 and other programs in field of molecular virology and related disciplines.
  • Internships for training in the following areas: advanced bacterial and yeast gene engineering, protein purification and enzymology assays; analysis of DNA/RNA biosynthesis at single nucleotide resolution; labeling and visualization of specific RNA in vitro and in situ.

 

Meet our team

PI:

Prof. Dr. Saulius Serva

PhD students:

Lina Aitmanaitė

Aleksandras Konovalovas

Algirdas Mikalkėnas

Research outcomes

 

Group participates in a number of collaborations, both at leading or partnership roles in diverse programs: National Research Pro­gramme, Global Grants, Researcher Teams’ and Challenge Ideas.

  • Algirdas Mikalkėnas, Bazilė Ravoitytė, Daiva Tauraitė, Elena Servienė, Rolandas Meškys & Saulius Serva (2018) Conju­gation of phosphonoacetic acid to nucleobase promotes a mechanism-based inhibition, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, 33:1, 384-389.
  • Grybchuk D, Akopyants NS, Kostygov AY, Konovalovas A, Lye LF, Dobson DE, Zangger H, Fasel N, Butenko A, Frolov AO, Votýpka J, d’Avila-Levy CM, Kulich P, Moravcová J, Plevka P, Rogozin IB, Serva S, Lukeš J, Beverley SM, Yurchenko V. Viral discovery and diversity in trypanosomatid protozoa with a fo­cus on relatives of the human parasite Leishmania. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Jan 16; 115(3):E506-E515.
  • Lukša J, Ravoitytė B, Konovalovas A, Aitmanaitė L, Butenko A, Yurchenko V, Serva S, Servienė E. Different Metabolic Pathways Are Involved in Response of Saccharomyces cerevi­siae to L-A and M Viruses. Toxins (Basel). 2017 Jul 25;9(8).
  • Konovalovas A, Servienė E, Serva S. (2016) Genome sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae double-stranded RNA virus L-A- 28. Genome Announc. 4(3):e00549-16.
  • Serva, S., Lagunavičius, A. Direct conjugation of peptides and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in DNA. Bioconjugate Chem. 2015, 26, 1008−1012.

 

Contacts

Prof. Dr. Saulius Serva

Life Sciences Center

Institute of Biosciences

Phone: +370 5 239 8244

E-mail:

More about the center: http://gmc.vu.lt/en

 

Department for Research and Innovation

Phone: +370 5 268 7006

E-mail:

More information: https://www.vu.lt/verslui/

 

Flyer for printing: Labaratory_of_Nucleic_Acid_Biochemistry.pdf