Plant Biotechnology Team

Head
Prof. Tomasz Pniewski
 
Staff
Post-doctoral degree Katarzyna Głowacka
Joanna Cerazy-Waliszewska, PhD Eng.
Karolina Sobańska, PhD
Hanna Pudelska, MSc Eng.
Martyna Przewoźnik, MSc Eng. (PhD student)
Katarzyna Beczek
 
 

The team conducts research in the field of biopharming and bioenergetics with the use of plant genetic engineering methods and in vitro cultures. In the first area, research is focused on the production of Virus-Like Particles (VLPs) in plant expression systems as components of oral and injection vaccines, carriers for epitopes of various antigens and constituents of bionanoparticles.

Studies in the field of bioenergetics includes recognition of the molecular and physiological basis of tolerance to abiotic stresses of energy grasses of the Miscanthus genus and the use of miscanthus biomass for the production of biofuels and bioproducts, including modifications of biomass properties and improvement of miscanthus somatic embryogenesis.

Research profile

  • Production of antigenic proteins in plant expression systems.
  • Plant material processing toward oral and injection formulas of vaccines.
  • Development of effective methodology of oral and injection-oral immunisation.
  • Utilisation of VLPs as carriers for immunogenic epitopes and bionanoparticles constituents.
  • Recognition of the molecular and physiological basis of Miscanthus tolerance to abiotic stresses, including low temperatures and soil contamination with heavy metals.
  • Development of methods of transformation and regeneration of Miscanthus.
  • Obtaining of transgenic Miscanthus with altered biomass properties.
  • The use of miscanthus biomass for production of bioethanol, biogas, biocharcoal and biocomposities.
  • Micropropagation of Miscanthus via somatic embryogenesis from generative and vegetative tissues.

 

Methods

  • DNA in vitro recombination techniques,
  • plant transformationusing Agrobacterium andbiolistic method,
  • VLPs production using transient expression systems
  • VLPs purification and analysis
  • investigations of immune response
  • plant in vitro cultures, somatic embryogenesis
  • analysis of (trans)gene expression: qPCR, ddPCR, Western Blot, ELISA, immunohistochemistry
  • complex analysis of reaction of energy grasses to stresses, including morphology (biometric traits), anatomy (histology and histochemistry), physiology  (RuBisCo activity assays, photosynthetic gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, electrolyte leakage), biochemistry (contents of metabolites) and molecular biology (RNAseq, qPCR, ddPCR )
  • analysis of lignocellulosic complex: FTIR, immunohistochemistry, gas chromatography
  • fementation and carbonisation of plant biomass

 

Current research activities

  • Production of VLPs assembled by HBV antigens and their derivatives in transgenic and transplastomic plants and in transient expression systems.
  • Processing of plant material containing VLPs toward oral and injection formulas of vaccines.
  • Development of effective immunisation via injection-oral route using purified VLPs and lyophilised plant tissue.
  • Studies of Miscanthus tolerance to cold stress and soil contamination with heavy metals.
  • Development of efficient method of Miscanthus somatic embryogenesis from generative and vegetative tissues.
  • Verification of Miscanthus transformation and regeneration methods for practical applications.
  • The use of Miscanthus biomass for production of bioethanol, biogas, biocharcoal and biocomposities.
  • Modification of cell wall composition and structure of model plants.

 

Selected papers

  • Pyrski M., Mieloch A.A.,Plewiński A., Basińska-Barczak A., Gryciuk A., Bociąg P., Murias M., Rybka J.D., Pniewski T. (2019). Parenteral-oral immunization with plant-derived HBcAg as a potential therapeutic vaccine against chronic hepatitis B. Vaccines 7:211.
  • Pniewski T., Milczarek M., Wojas-Turek J., Pajtasz-Piasecka E., Wietrzyk J., Czyż M. (2018). Plant lyophilisate as an oral booster vaccine against HBV. Vaccine 36:6070-6076.
  • Cerazy-Waliszewska J., Jeżowski S., Łysakowski P., Waliszewska B., Zborowska M., Sobańska K., Ślusarkiewicz-Jarzina A., Białas W., Pniewski T. (2019). Potential of bioethanol production from biomass of various Miscanthus genotypes in three-year plantations in west-central Poland. Industrial Crops and Products 141:111790.
  • Ślusarkiewicz-Jarzina A. , Ponitka A., Cerazy-Waliszewska J., Wojciechowicz M.K., Sobańska K., Jeżowski S., Pniewski T. (2017). Effective and simple in vitro regeneration system of Miscanthus sinensis, M. × giganteus and M. sacchariflorus for planting and biotechnology purposes. Biomass and Bioenergy 107:219-226.

 

Grants

Project No. 2020/37/K/NZ7/02387
Title: Immunogenicity of plant-produced chimeric Virus-Like Particles formed by HBcAg displaying HBsAg epitopes for potential therapy of chronic hepatitis B
Principal investigator: Benita Ortega Berlanga
Project type: POLS
Project duration: Sep. 15, 2021 – Sep. 14, 2023
 
 
Project No.: 2020/37/B/NZ6/02334
Title: Immune response induced by injection-oral co-immunisation with plant-derived HBV antigens polarising the response to Th1 or Th2 type in the context of potential therapy for chronic hepatitis B.
Principal investigator: Tomasz Pniewski
Project implemented in the consortium: Institute of Plant Genetics PAS (Tomasz Pniewski, PI); Institute of Parasitology PAS (Agnieszka Wesołowska, co-PI); National Medicines Institute (Małgorzata Kęsik-Brodacka, co-PI);
Project type: OPUS 19
Project duration: Feb. 22, 2021 – Feb. 21, 2025
 
 
Project No.: 2019/35/B/NZ6/04002
Title: Host sex effect on immunity and protection after oral immunization with Fasciola hepatica cysteine protease and the parasite challenge.
Principal investigator: Małgorzata Kęsik-Brodacka (National Medicines Institute)
Project implemented in the consortium: National Medicines Institute (Małgorzata Kęsik-Brodacka, PI); Institute of Parasitology PAS (Agnieszka Wesołowska, co-PI); Institute of Plant Genetics PAS (Tomasz Pniewski, co-PI)
Project type: OPUS 18
Project duration: Sep. 10, 2020 – Sep. 9, 2024
 
 
Project No: 2018/29/N/NZ9/00854
Title: The effect of changes in the expression profile of gene coding CesA, PAL and WAK proteins during cold stress on the composition and structure of Miscanthus sinensis cell wall.
Principal investigator: Karolina Sobańska
Project type: PRELUDIUM 15
Project duration: Jan. 2, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2022