DEPARTMENT OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY

Head of Department: Elekes Károly, PhD, DSc

Research Team of Chemical Ecology and Neurobiology

The core of the research program of the of Chemical ecology and Neurobiology Research Team is the analysis in invertebrates, mainly in mollusks, of chemosensory processes, interactions as well as the processing of chemical stimuli originating from the surrounding. All these aim to reveal the chemical ecological aspects of animal-plant and plant-animal interactions. In the course of our investigations we shall analyze the effect of chemical stimuli of plant or animal origin, as well as their neuronal processing related to the physiology and behavioral forms of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. First of all, we have been studying the aspects of senso-motor signalization of mollusks, with special attention to chemosensory input and related feeding and locomotion, as both representing the two basic forms of behavior involving the adaptive responses of the animals given to environmental challenges. A further target of or research is to reveal the general rules of central and peripheral processes as well neuronal interactions related to different forms of behavior, especially at the level of membrane expression of receptors and ion channels, and intracellular signaling. The investigations are performed by complex methodology, including the application of functional neuroanatomy, micro electrophysiology, bioassays, biochemical-pharmacology and molecular biology. Our experimental animals are the long-time model species of comparative neurobiology, neuroethology, such as the terrestrial snail, Helix pomatia, the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. In addition, novel objects such as the sub-species of the invasive bivalve of Lake Balaton, Dreissean polymprpha and Dreissena bugensis, will also enrich the palette. Our research will deal with the major topics as follows. i) Cellular basis of central and peripheral processing of chemosensory information as well as the analysis of changes appearing during con- and interspecific chemical communication. ii) Organization of peripheral (motoric) effectors responding to environmental (chemical) stimuli, with special attention to changes in receptor expression. iii) Changes of intracellular signaling cascades during species-environment interaction, with special attention to peptide-protein profile alterations evoked by different chemical stimuli. iv) Functional morphological and chemical neuroanatomical organization of neural networks, identified neurons and regulatory systems related to them. v) Neuroembryological studies under control and chemically manipulated conditions, with special attention to gangliogenesis, development of chemical specificity and intercellular connections (synaptogenesis), appearance of receptor molecules and adult-like behaviors.

ELEKES, Károly DSc, Head of Team elekes.karolyemail_cim,
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KISS, Tibor DSc kiss.tiboremail_cim,
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HERNÁDI, László PhD hernadi.laszloemail_cim,
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SZŰCS, Attila PhD szucs.attilaemail_cim,
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PIRGER, Zsolt PhD pirger.zsoltemail_cim,
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BATTONYAI, Izabella MSc battonyai.izabellaemail_cim,
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KRAJCS, Nóra MSc krajcs.noraemail_cim,
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BALÁZS, Boldizsár system administrator balazs.boldizsaremail_cim,
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IHÁSZ, Katalin technician ihasz.katalinemail_cim,
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LÁSZLÓ, Zita technician laszlo.zitaemail_cim,
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NAGYNÉ FEKETE, Zsuzsanna technician fekete.zsuzsannaemail_cim,
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SZARKA, Zsanett technician szarka.zsanettemail_cim,
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Enviromental Toxicological

Our focus is on the relationship between environmental pollution and health problems according to the following major points:

1. Screening-level risk assessment of pollutants (SLRA), with special reference to heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls. The use and drawing up proper site models to identify pollution sources, pathways and fate of contaminants of potential concern.

2. Toxic effect assessment of pollutants of both human and "natural" origin (like toxins produced by cyanobacteria): comprising hazard identification, accumulation and dose-response studies as well as exposure assessment using both invertebrate and vertebrate aquatic model organisms as well as cell culture models.

2.1. The neuronal mechanisms are studied on different levels of neuronal integration from behavior to individual nerve cells of the neuronal networks involved in the potentially toxic effects of environmentally concerned pollutants. By combining biochemical, morphological and electrophysiological techniques the exact target of the effects are determined on cellular and membrane functions, interneuronal connections as well as on neurotransmitter levels which modulate neuronal activity.

2.2. Application of in vitro toxicological techniques on different cell lines. Follow up the influence of toxic substances (including cyanobacterial toxins as microcystine, cylindrospermopsin) on regulation of the cell cycle, chromatin condensation, cell death process, cascade reactions of the signal transduction pathways, and the structure of the cytoskeleton.

SERFŐZŐ, Zoltán PhD, Head of Team serfozo.zoltanemail_cim,
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GYŐRI, János PhD gyori.janosemail_cim,
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FELPÉCZINÉ FARKAS, Anna PhD farkas.annaemail_cim,
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VEHOVSZKY, Ágnes CSs vehovszky.agnesemail_cim,
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ÁCS, András MSc acs.andrasemail_cim,
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BALÁZSNÉ HOLLÓSY, Eugénia technician balazsne.eugeniaemail_cim,
IHÁSZ, Katalin technician ihasz.katalinemail_cim,
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