Institute of Plant Genetics
Polish Academy of Sciences

Plant Physiology

Plant Physiology Team


prof. dr hab. Arkadiusz Kosmala


dr hab. Izabela Pawłowicz

dr hab. Danuta Babula-Skowrońska

dr Joanna Majka

dr Dawid Perlikowski

mgr inż. Włodzimierz Zwierzykowski

mgr Natalia Żyła (PhD student)

mgr inż. Adrianna Czapiewska (PhD student)

mgr Julia Górna (PhD student)


From left to right: A. Kosmala, J. Górna, A. Czapiewska, I. Pawłowicz, W. Zwierzykowski, D. Babula-Skowrońska, N. Żyła, D. Perlikowski

Research profile

The research is focused on the mechanisms of tolerance to abiotic stresses (low temperature, soil drought, and salinity) in Lolium-Festuca grasses and on the mechanisms involved in regulating the activity of duplicated genes in various biological processes in Brassica napus.

We analyze:

  • physiological parameters,
  • root system architecture,
  • gene expression at transcript and protein levels,
  • gene promoters,
  • antioxidant system efficiency,
  • primary metabolites and lipids accumulation,
  • protein-protein interactions (yeast two-hybrid system, pull-down, BiFC),
  • gene functions (using e.g. CRISPR/Cas9 system).

We proved that (2019-2023):

  • Drought tolerance of Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea hybrids depends mainly on the length of their root system and its ability to penetrate the soil under water deficit. In turn, drought tolerance of F. arundinacea is more dependent on the metabolism of root system (Perlikowski et al. 2019, 2020).
  • Accumulation of triacylglycerols (TAG) under water deficit in Lolium-Festuca grasses protect plant cells against accumulation of toxic, polyunsaturated free fatty acids. Moreover, these TAGs can be further used as a source of substrates to regenerate cellular membranes after stress cessation (Perlikowski et al. 2022b). 
  • Accumulation profiles of selected primary metabolites and lipids in the crown tissue can be good indicators of both drought tolerance and potential to regenerate after stress cessation in Festuca arundinacea and Lolium multiflorum/F. arundinacea hybrids (Perlikowski et al. 2023).
  • Triplication of BnaABI1 in Brassica napus had effects on both its functions and the positions of adjacent genes in the corresponding chromosomal regions. Expression profiling of BnaABI1 genes revealed functional divergence, i.e. subfunctionalization, possibly leading to neofunctionalization under abiotic stress  (Babula-Skowrońska 2021).

Key words

drought tolerance, salinity tolerance, frost tolerance, winter-hardiness, cold acclimation and de-acclimation, plant basic metabolism, gene expression, functional analysis, Lolium-Festuca, Brassica, evolutionary biology, regulatory diversity


Selected recent publications (see all in Scopus)

Perlikowski D., Skirycz A., Marczak Ł., Lechowicz K., Augustyniak A., Michäelis A., Kosmala A. (2023). Metabolism of crown tissue is crucial for drought tolerance and recovery after stress cessation in Lolium/Festuca forage grasses. Journal of Experimental Botany 74: 396-414 DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erac398

Żyła N., Babula-Skowrońska D. (2023). Evolutionary consequences of functional and regulatory divergence of HD-Zip I transcription factors as a source of diversity in protein interaction networks in plants. Journal of  Molecular Evolution DOI: 10.1007/s00239-023-10121-4

Perlikowski D., Lechowicz K., Pawłowicz I., Arasimowicz-Jelonek M., Kosmala A. (2022a). Scavenging of nitric oxide up-regulates photosynthesis under drought in Festuca arundinacea and F. glaucescens but reduces their drought tolerance. Scientific Reports 12: 6500 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-10299-5

Perlikowski D., Lechowicz K., Skirycz A., Michaelis A., Pawłowicz I., Kosmala A. (2022b). The role of triacylglycerol in the protection of cells against lipotoxicity under drought in Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea introgression form. Plant and Cell Physiology 63: 353-368 DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcac003

Babula-Skowrońska D. (2021). Functional divergence of Brassica napus BnaABI1 paralogs in the structurally conserved PP2CA gene subfamily of Brassicaceae. Genomics 113: 3185-3197 DOI: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2021.06.031

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

Perlikowski D., Augustyniak A., Masajada K., Skirycz A., Soja A. M., Michaelis A., Wolter G., Kosmala A. (2019). Structural and metabolic alterations in root systems under limited water conditions in forage grasses of Lolium-Festuca complex. Plant Science 283: 211-223 DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2019.02.001


Projects (finished recently or current)


National Science Center

Type Project number (link to NCN) Project title in Polish Project title in English Project leader / partners Financing (PLN) Start date End date
Opus 21 2021/41/B/NZ9/00782 Kompleksowa analiza mechanizmów mrozoodporności w sekwencji procesów hartowania w chłodzie, rozhartowywania i ponownego hartowania, u traw pastewnych. Comprehensive analysis of frost tolerance mechanisms in the sequence of cold
acclimation, de-acclimation and re-acclimation processes in forage grasses.
Dawid Perlikowski 2 076 780 01-06-2022 31-05-2026
OPUS 20 2020/39/B/NZ9/02488 Charakterystyka rodziny lipokalin oraz ich funkcja w stabilizowaniu aparatu
fotosyntetycznego podczas stresu oksydacyjnego u Festuca glaucescens
Profiling of lipocalin family and determination of their role in photosynthetic
protection against oxidative damage in Festuca glaucescens
Izabela Pawłowicz 1 615 994 02-07-2021 01-07-2025
OPUS 12 2016/23/B/NZ9/02175 Plastyczność odpowiedzi poliploidów na stresy środowiskowe: zbadanie regulonu ABI1/HB6 w warunkach stresów solnego i suszy u rzepaku (Brassica napus L.) Response plasticity to enviromental stresses in poliploids: exploring of the ABI1/HB6 regulon under salt and drought stresses in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) Danuta Babula-Skowrońska 975 450 26-07-2017 25-12-2021
OPUS 12 2016/23/B/NZ9/00820 Wgląd w molekularne mechanizmy tolerancji deficytu wody i regeneracji po jego ustąpieniu u wybranych gatunków i mieszańców traw pastewnych kompleksu Lolium-Festuca 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 Arkadiusz Kosmala 796 283 03-07-2017 02-07-2021


Other projects

MRiRW 2021-2026, nr 17
Mechanizmy odporności na abiotyczne i biotyczne stresy środowiskowe u form introgresywnych życicy wielokwiatowej i życicy trwałej z genami kostrzewy łąkowej lub kostrzewy trzcinowej
link to project information

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