Zoonoses - Břetislav Koudela


Prof. Břetislav Koudela Prof. Břetislav Koudela
Research group leader

Research areas

  • Analysis of the aspects associated with diversity and host specificity of selected model groups of parasitic pathogens, their zoonotic potential and the risk of infectious diseases for human and domestic and wild animals emerging
  • Development of specific and sensitive molecular tools for the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis
  • Proteomic analysis of the excretory-secretory proteins of the Trichinella species and identification of key parasite proteins that are involved in the host-parasite interaction

Main objectives

  • To obtain novel information on the causes, mechanisms and spreading of infectious diseases in domestic animals.
  • Identification of mechanisms and prevention of the circulation of zoonotic pathogens and commensal antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in the food chain.

Content of research

Analysis of the causes, mechanisms and spread of infectious diseases in domestic animals

Emerging diseases on the human-domestic animals - wildlife interface

The aim is to study principles underlying epidemiology of selected parasitic pathogens transmissible between man and animals, including improving the methods of the detection, understanding the links between molecular diversity and host specificity of selected model organisms, with emphasis on zoonotic potential.

Model situation 1: Piroplasma (Babesia, Theileria spp). Elucidation of host specificity and description of the barriers that prohibit the transmission of individual species / genotypes between various hosts.

Model situation 2: Protistan and helminth parasites of primates and man. The intimate evolutionary link between African great apes, such as, chimpanzees and gorillas, and humans creates a unique model situation, in which we can trace the history and origin of several human infections, i.e. from the perspective of interspecific boundaries and their crossing by pathogens. This part of the project is aimed at comparing communities of protozoan and helminth parasites in population of wild gorillas and chimpanzees on the level of individuals, i.e. infracommunities, as well as host populations and to apply the molecular tools to assess the genetic diversity of studied pathogens on infra-specific level and to analyse the consequences of observed transmission patterns for emergence of diseases, but also for conservation purposes.

Model situation 3: Parasitic and viral infection in isolated populations of African domestic dogs. The study focuses on the population of domesticated animals, namely dogs, lives without prophylactic or therapeutic interventions, being exposed to direct selection pressure of complex of pathogens. The overall aim of this part is to characterise infectious diseases in native dogs living so far without any veterinary care with Samburu/Turkana pastoralists in Turkana region N. Kenya.

Analysis and the prevention of the circulation of zoonotic pathogens in the food chain

Emerging food-borne parasites

This work package focuses mainly on nucleic acid-based and proteomic approaches for the diagnosis of the selected food-borne parasites and analysis of genetic variation among them. Among the major food-borne parasites are T. gondii and Trichinella spp. Based on two model situations, the work package aims to contribute to understanding the principles underlying the epidemiology of selected food-borne parasites transmissible between man and animals, including improving the methods of the detection.

Model situation 1: Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasmosis. Sera from food domestic and game animals will be tested for antibodies to T. gondii. T. gondii isolates from seropositive animals will be then genotyped. Genotyping data will be analysed to demonstrate the genetic diversity and geographical distribution of T. gondii in the Czech Republic.

Model situation 2: Trichinella. A global proteomics approach will be used to analyse the E/S proteins from T. spiralis muscle larvae. Specific Trichinella EST databases will be used to analyse the data.

Host genetics and comparative immugenomics

Genetic diversity and host-pathogen interactions in specific populations of domestic dogs

Several hundred samples from Kenyan village dogs will be available for genetic diversity and association analysis of various populations and sub-populations of these dogs. For these purposes, selected infectious / parasitic diseases will be diagnosed by molecular and serological techniques: rabies, distemper and several parasite species and phenotypic classification will be made.


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