Department of Immunology and Gnotobiology - Institute of Microbiology - Praha

Founded in 1962, the Institute of Microbiology (IMIC) of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic develops scientific research covering areas of physiology, molecular biology and genetics of microorganisms and their relationship with their hosts. It has more than 300 employees. Physiology and regulation of natural and acquired immunity mechanisms, ontogenetic development of these mechanisms in conventional and germ-free models and the causality and possible therapy of tumor and autoimmune diseases are investigated at IMIC. Located in Prague, the department of Immunology and Gnotobiology has detached facility in Nový Hrádek to house germ-free animals.

Research and Training Expertise

IMIC has developed expertise in the analysis of the interaction of commensal bacteria with intestinal mucosa and to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of intestinal inflammation using experimental models of human Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The group provides a unique expertise in handling and developing of animal models of human intestinal diseases. Germ-free animals are helping to study the effect of commensal microflora.

In Dept. of Immunology and Gnotobiology there is continuing training of PhD students. We have now 24 PhD students who are studying various aspects of immunological and immunopathological responses. In connection with the role of microflora in IBD there are about 8 PhD students working in this field. IMIC is affiliated to a postgraduate school at the Charles University under the direction of Dr. Jiří Gabriel.

Key persons involved

Helena Tlaskalova-Hogenova, MD, PhD, DSc, is a Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at Charles University. She headed the Department of Immunology and Gnotobiology till 2003. She published 180 papers in international journals and her contribution to mucosal immunology has been awarded several times.

Tomas Hudcovic, PhD, is specialized in gnotobiology and mucosal immunology. He has been awarded by the Institute of Microbiology for the best PhD thesis.

Hana Kozáková, PhD, is the head of Laboratory of Physiology, Immunity and Ontogenesis of Gnotobionts since 2002 and a member of the committee of the International Association for Gnotobiology.


Material Ressources

The complete equipment for breeding of germfree mice is available at IMIC. Established methods for food sterilization allow maintaining its nutritional quality. The laboratory is fully equipped for immuno-histochemistry analysis.

3 Key publications

  • Hudcovic T, Kolinska J, Klepetar K, Stepankova R, Rezanka T, Srutková D, Schwarzer M, Erban V, Du Z, Wells J, Hrncir T, Tlaskalova-Hogenova H, Kozakova H: Protective effect of Clostridium tyrobutyricum in acute dextran sulfate-induced colitis: Differential regulation of TNF-α and IL-18 in BALB/c and SCID mice. Clin Exp Immunol DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2011.04498.x, 2012.
  • Tlaskalova-Hogenova H, Stepankova R, Kozakova H, Hudcovic T, Vannucci L, Tuckova L, Rossmann P, Hrncir T, Kverka M, Zakostelska Z, Klimesova K, Pribylova J, Bartova J, Sanchez D, Fundova P, Borovska D, Srutkova D, Zidek Z, Schwarzer M,Drastich P, Funda DP. The role of gut microbiota (commensal bacteria) and the mucosal barrier in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and cancer: contribution of germ-free and gnotobiotic animal models of human diseases. Cell Mol Immunol. 2011 Mar;8(2):110-20. Epub 2011 Jan 31. Review. [Pubmed]
  • Schwarzer M. and Repa A., Daniel C., Schabussova I., Hrncir T., Pot B., Stepankova R., Hudcovic T., Pollak A., Tlaskalova-Hogenova H., Wiedermann U., Kozakova H. (2010) Neonatal colonization of mice with Lactobacillus plantarum producing the aeroallergen Bet v 1 biases towards Th1 and T-regulatory responses upon systemic sensitization. Allergy, 2010 Sep 29. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2010.02488. [Pubmed]
  • Stepankova R., Tonar Z., Bartova J., Nedorost L., Rossman P., Poledne R., Schwarzer M., Tlaskalova- Hogenova H. (2010) Absence of microbiota (germ-free conditions) accelerates the atherosclerosis in ApoE-deficient mice fed standard low cholesterol diet. J. Atheroscler. Thromb. 2010 Aug 31;17(8):796-804. Epub 2010 Apr 2.PMID: 20379054 [Pubmed]