About the lab

Explore the relationships between the microbiota and the immune system. Studies include:

Host-Microbes Interaction - signalling pathways, MAMPs and PAMPs
Microbes to Molecules - immunochemical characteristic of bacterial surface antigens
Bugs as Drugs - can we use the bacteria or their antigens in allergy, IBD or neurodegenerative diseases treatment?

Featured projects (1)

The main aim of the project is to carry out fundamental research on development and characterization of in vitro model of pollen allergy suitable for potential probiotics preclinical screening studies, as well as to determine the possibility of using Bifidobacterium strains in the treatment/prevention of pollen allergy, which prevalence in Western countries is dramatically rising. Within the project, the culture conditions of two human epithelial cell lines (immortalized and primary) will be optimized. Furthermore, the biological environments enhancing the pollen allergy induction will be elaborated. Finally, the potential of Bifidobacterium to treat/prevent of pollen allergy will be evaluated.

Featured research (10)

Bifidobacteria are gram-positive, anaerobic or microaerophilic bacteria, which also include strains with proven probiotic activity. The positive effect of probiotic bacteria on the host is well known. Probiotic strains of Bifidobacteria have the ability to modulate the immune system through components of the cell wall, such as peptidoglycan, polysaccharides or surface proteins. Peptidoglycan is the largest component of the gram-positive bacteria cell wall. The overall structure of the Bifidobacteria peptidoglycan has been determined in many studies. However, peptidoglycan isolation methods do not rule out the simultaneous co-isolation of lipoteichoic acids and lipoproteins, which may cause a false signal for the TLR2 receptor. As further research will focus on discovering the biological function of peptidoglycans from selected Bifidobacterium strains in allergy prevention, the adaptation of the peptidoglycan isolation and purification method was necessary. The research focused on the adjustment of the appropriate method for the isolation and purification of peptidoglycan from Bifidobacterium strains. At least ten methods of isolation and purification were tested. The efficacy of the peptidoglycan purification methods was tested using HEK-293 cell lines stably transfected by TLR2 or NOD2 receptors genes (HEK-BueTM-hTLR2 cell line and HEK-BlueTM-hNOD2 cell line). The most efficient method of isolating and purifying peptidoglycan of Bifidobacterium strains was determined.
In recent years a continuous increase in new cases of respiratory disorders, such as rhinitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), has been observed. The exact pathomechanism of these diseases is still blurry, resulting in the lack of targeted and effective therapy. The conventional use of treatment strategies, such as antihistamine drugs and/or glucocorticosteroids act mainly symptomatically and have significant side effects. Specific allergen immunotherapy is only useful in the management of specific allergies and selected patients. Therefore, new therapeutic solutions are constantly being sought. The novelty of recent years has been the association between NLRP3 inflammasome activation and the development of airway inflammatory diseases. This seems to be an interesting therapeutic target that may support or even replace traditional therapies in the future. The review presented, discusses the contribution of NLRP3 inflammasome to the development of allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, and COPD. Moreover, the modulatory properties of probiotics as potential inhibitors of NLRP3 inflammasome are emphasised.
Bifidobacterium strains are well known for their health-promoting properties. However, the exact effect on the host results from the composition and metabolic activity of the studied bacteria. Moreover, the immunomodulatory properties of the Bifidobacterium molecules may differ between antigens. This is why thorough studies are needed to reveal a broad range of possibilities that Bifidobacterium strains can give us. Antigens i.e. polysaccharides (PS), lipoteichoic acids (LTA), surface proteins (SLP), peptidoglycan (PG) and DNA were isolated from two Bifidobacterium strains – Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. animalis CCDM 218 (Ba218) and Bifidobacterium adolescentis CCDM 368 (Bad368). Later, the recognition pathways for these molecules were determined with the use of the HEK-BlueTM cells. Finally, cells isolated from the OVA-induced mice were used to evaluate the possible role of studied antigens to alleviate allergy responses by influencing the Th1/Th2 cytokine production. After a series of isolations, we were able to distinguish 7 different Bad368 molecules: 3 PS fractions (368.1, 368.2 and 368.3) and one fraction each from LTA, SLPs, PG and DNA. Similarly, for the Ba218 we identified: 3 PS fractions (218.1, 218.2 and 218.3), and one LTA, SLPs, PG and DNA. Among these, we were looking for antigens that were able to induce INFγ and IL-10 cytokines while reducing the IL-5, IL-4 and IL-13. The most promising seem to be: 368 SLPs recognized by TLR2 receptors; 218.3 and 368.1, both recognized by TLR2 and TLR4 receptors, and PG 368 recognized by TLR2 and NOD2 receptors. The above results indicate interesting anti-inflammatory properties of Ba218 and Bad368 antigens. However, further research of the rest of the antigens may reveal their role i.e. in inflammatory diseases. Overall, additional studies should be performed in the future, to fully evaluate the total potential of those strains and their molecules.
Label-free microwave resonator-type biosensors covered with polyclonal anti-Escherichia coli antibodies are presented. The sensors` construction provides high sensitivity on the bacteria detection, whereas the utilization of specific antibodies ensures selective bacteria binding. Two types of biosensors are studied to explore the benefits of microwave sensing: the first one, in which increased sensitivity on the bacteria detection is obtained due to the differential excitation of the resonating conductors, and the second one, in which a multi-resonant character increases the probability for the bacteria detection. The exemplary sensors were designed to operate in the frequency range of 4.4 – 4.8 GHz or 15 – 25 GHz and physically realized on a silicon wafer using standard microelectronic processor using the United Monolithic Semiconductor (UMS) PH25 process on a 100 μm thick GaAs substrate, respectively. The sensors were experimentally validated by measurements of various concentrations of Escherichia coli. Both types of sensors were compared to show their advantages and disadvantages in terms of future use for biomedical applications. Both biosensors were shown to enable bacteria detection at concentrations reaching as low as 10³ CFU/ml. Interestingly, a monotonic response for bacteria concentration was observed for a multi-resonant sensor, which can be utilized for estimation of bacteria content using the calibration curve.

Lab head

Sabina Górska
  • Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy
About Sabina Górska
  • Sabina Górska currently works at the Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy , Polish Academy of Sciences. The subject of her scientific interests is research in the area of medical microbiology, experimental immunology and immunobiological phenomena in the conditions of health and disease. The subject of her work specially refers to the structural research of surface bacteria antigens and their importance in the development of contagious diseases and immunological response. Besides during laboratory research she is developing her competence in intellectual property rights, knowledge transfer and commercialization. Her interests are assessment of biotech, medical and pharmaceutical project, as well as evaluation of innovative bio companies.

Members (8)

Agnieszka Zabłocka
  • Polish Academy of Sciences
Agnieszka Razim
  • Medical University of Vienna
Katarzyna Pacyga-Prus
  • Polish Academy of Sciences
Marcelina Pyclik
  • Instytut Immunologii i Terapii Doświadczalnej im. Ludwika Hirszfelda
Dominika Jakubczyk
  • Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences
Wioletta Kazana
  • Instytut Immunologii i Terapii Doświadczalnej im. Ludwika Hirszfelda
Katarzyna Leszczyńska
  • Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences
Dominika Kozakiewicz
  • Polish Academy of Sciences
Józefa Macała
Józefa Macała
  • Not confirmed yet