Plant Physiology Team

Post-doctoral degree Izabela Pawłowicz
Danuta Babula-Skowrońska, PhD
Joanna Majka, PhD
Dawid Perlikowski, PhD

Katarzyna Lechowicz, PhD (assistant)

Włodzimierz Zwierzykowski, Msc. Eng.
Natalia Żyła, MSc (PhD student)

The research is focused on the forage grasses from the Lolium-Festuca complex. Lolium and Festuca species encompasses numerous complementary traits. L. multiflorum (Italian ryegrass) and L. perenne (perennial ryegrass) are the species with a high forage quality but rather low tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Otherwise, F. pratensis (meadow fescue) and F. arundinacea (tall fescue) are characterized by a high level of resistance to pathogens (e.g. Microdochium nivale), winter-hardiness, and tolerance to frost, drought and salinity but they cannot compete with Lolium species with reference to productivity and quality in comfortable environmental conditions. Both Festuca species and their amphiploid and introgression derivatives are regarded as models among forage grasses for the research associated with mechanisms of tolerance to environmental stresses, mainly - drought (F. arundinacea) and low temperature (F. pratensis). These plant materials are also extremely interesting objects for cytogenetic studies focused on plant chromosome organization and evolution.

In parallel, the analysis on gene interaction network associated with the activity of ABI1 protein phosphatase in winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus var. oleifera) under environmental stress conditions, is performed. ABI1 protein phosphatase (group A PP2C) is a central negative regulator of the ABA-mediated signaling pathway and it is involved in a reversible phosphorylation of many proteins. The involvement of ABI1 in a control of transcription factor HB6-dependent gene network under salt and drought stresses, is analyzed.


Research profile

  • Molecular basis of plant tolerance to abiotic stresses (low temperature, drought, and salinity) and resistance to pathogens,
  • Organization and evolution of plant chromosome- and genome-specific sequences,
  • Transfer of genes for environmental stress tolerance from Festuca species into Lolium species,
  • Molecular and physiological mechanisms of stress response plasticity in poliploid species.



  • analysis of gene expression at transcript (real time RT-PCR ) and protein level (2-D electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, and Western blot),
  • analysis of root system architecture under water deficit conditions,
  • physiological analyses (WC, RWC, electrolyte leakage, gas exchange parameters, and chlorophyll fluorescence),
  • analysis of cellular antioxidant system efficiency under environmental stresses,
  • tests for plant tolerance to low temperature and drought in natural and simulated conditions,
  • fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and genomic in situ hybridization (GISH),
  • analysis of primary metabolites and membrane lipids accumulation,
  • analysis of protein-protein interactions (yeast two-hybrid system, pull-down, BiFC),
  • generation of transgenic plants with gene over-expression and gene modified functions using CRISPR/Cas9 system.


Selected papers

  • Augustyniak A., Pawłowicz I., Lechowicz K., Izbiańska-Jankowska K., Arasimowicz-Jelonek M., Rapacz M., Perlikowski D., Kosmala A. (2020). Freezing tolerance of Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea introgression forms is associated with the high activity of antioxidant system and adjustment of photosynthetic activity under cold acclimation.International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21 (16): 5899 DOI: 10.3390/ijms21165899
  • Perlikowski D., Augustyniak A., Skirycz A., Pawłowicz I., Masajada K., Michaelis Ä., Kosmala A. (2020). Efficient root metabolism improves drought resistance of Festuca arundinacea, Plant and Cell Physiology, 61: 492-504 DOI:10.1093/pcp/pcz215
  • Augustyniak A., Perlikowski D., Rapacz M., Kościelniak J., Kosmala A. (2018). Insight into cellular proteome of Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea introgression forms to decipher crucial mechanisms of cold acclimation in forage grasses. Plant Science, 272: 22-31DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2018.04.002
  • Pawłowicz I., Waśkiewicz A., Perlikowski D., Rapacz M., Ratajczak D., Kosmala A. (2018). Remodeling of chloroplast proteome under salinity affects salt tolerance of Festuca arundinacea. Photosynthesis Research,137: 475-492 DOI: 10.1007/s11120-018-0527-7
  • Płażek A., Pociecha E., Augustyniak A., Masajada K., Dziurka M., Majka J., Perlikowski D., Pawłowicz I., Kosmala A. (2017). Dissection of resistance to Microdochium nivale in Lolium multiflorum/​Festuca arundinacea introgression forms. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 123: 43-53 DOI: 10.​1016/​j.​plaphy.​2017.​11.​022
  • Majka J., Książczyk T., Kiełbowicz-Matuk A., Kopecky D., Kosmala A. (2017). Exploiting repetitive sequences and BAC clones in Festuca pratensis karyotyping.Plos ONE, 12 (6): e0179043 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179043
  • Perlikowski D., Kierszniowska S., Sawikowska A., Krajewski P., Rapacz M., Eckhardt Ä., Kosmala A.(2016). Remodeling of leaf cellular glycerolipid composition under drought and re-hydration conditions in grasses from the Lolium-Festuca complex. Frontiers in Plant Science,7:1027 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01027
  • Perlikowski D., Czyżniejewski M., Marczak Ł., Augustyniak A., Kosmala A. (2016). Water deficit affects primary metabolism differently in two Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea introgression forms with a distinct capacity for photosynthesis and membrane regeneration. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7:1063 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01063
  • Lechowicz K., Pawłowicz I., Perlikowski D., Arasimowicz-Jelonek M., Blicharz S., Skirycz A., Augustyniak A., Malinowski R., Rapacz M., Kosmala A. (2020). Adjustment of photosynthetic and antioxidant activities to water deficit is crucial in the drought tolerance of Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea introgression forms. International Journal of Molecular Sciences,21 (16): 5639DOI: 10.3390/ijms21165639
  • Lechowicz K., Pawłowicz I., Perlikowski D., Arasimowicz-Jelonek M., Majka J., Augustyniak A., Rapacz M., Kosmala A. (2020). Two Festuca species - F. arundinacea and F. glaucescens - differ in the molecular response to drought, while their physiological response is similar. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(9): 3174 DOI: 10.3390/ijms21093174


Research projects

Project no: 2017/25/N/NZ9/00001
Project title: Analysis of molecular mechanisms of frost tolerance in Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea introgression forms
Project leader: A. Augustyniak
Duration: 1st February 2018 – 31st January 2020
Project no: 2016/23/B/N29/02175
Project title: Response plasticity to enviromental stresses in poliploids: exploring of the ABI1/HB6 regulon under salt and drought stresses in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.)
Project leader: D. Babula-Skowrońska
Duration:  26th July 2017 – 25th July 2021


Project no: 2016/23/B/N29/00820
Project title: Insight into molecular mechanisms of tolerance to water deficit and capacity to regenerate after stress cessation in the selected species and hybrids of Lolium-Festuca forage grasses
Project leader: A. Kosmala
Duration:  3rd July 2017 – 2nd July 2021
Project no: HOR hn-801-8/14 - 35
Project title: Identification of genes associated with the expression of winter-hardiness and drought tolerance in the Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea introgression forms
Project leader: A. Kosmala
TYPE: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Biological progress
Duration: 1st January 2014 – 31st December 2020