imbb logo for mobile
Michail Kotsyfakis

Michail Kotsyfakis

Principal Researcher
Email address
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In our research projects, ticks serve as model organisms to address fundamental topics in the field of disease vector biology, such as:

1) Improving our understanding of the basic molecular and biochemical mechanisms that mediate the disease transmission lifecycle of the specific arthropod vector. Emphasis is given to (a) investigating the complexity of tick salivary secretion composition at the molecular level and (b) elucidating the detailed molecular mechanisms by which tick saliva constituents manipulate vertebrate host homeostasis upon tick feeding.

2) Examining how knowledge of the mechanisms adopted by ticks to modulate vertebrate host homeostasis may be the conceptual basis for developing health-related applications. We explore the potential of tick salivary molecules for (a) drug development, (b) developing tick exposure markers, and (c) anti-tick vaccine development.

3) Establishing surveillance/monitoring mechanisms and increasing our preparedness for a scenario in which ticks may serve as disease vectors for the emergence of serious public health issues in Southern Europe.

Martins LA, Buša M, Chlastáková A, Kotál J, Beránková Z, Stergiou N, Jmel MA, Schmitt E, Chmelař J, Mareš M, Kotsyfakis M. (2023) Protease-bound structure of Ricistatin provides insights into the mechanism of action of tick salivary cystatins in the vertebrate host. Cell Mol Life Sci. 80:339.

Oliva Chávez AS, Wang X, Marnin L, Archer NK, Hammond HL, Carroll EEM, Shaw DK, Tully BG, Buskirk AD, Ford SL, Butler LR, Shahi P, Morozova K, Clement CC, Lawres L, Neal AJO, Mamoun CB, Mason KL, Hobbs BE, Scoles GA, Barry EM, Sonenshine DE, Pal U, Valenzuela JG, Sztein MB, Pasetti MF, Levin ML, Kotsyfakis M, Jay SM, Huntley JF, Miller LS, Santambrogio L, Pedra JHF. (2021) Tick extracellular vesicles enable arthropod feeding and promote distinct outcomes of bacterial infection. Nat Commun. 12:3696.

Chai J, Chen X, Ye T, Zeng B, Zeng Q, Wu J, Kascakova B, Martins LA, Prudnikova T, Smatanova IK, Kotsyfakis M, Xu X. (2021) Characterization and functional analysis of cathelicidin-MH, a novel frog-derived peptide with anti-septicemic properties. Elife. 10:e64411.

Chlastáková A, Kotál J, Beránková Z, Kaščáková B, Martins LA, Langhansová H, Prudnikova T, Ederová M, Kutá Smatanová I, Kotsyfakis M, Chmelař J. (2021) Iripin-3, a new salivary protein isolated from Ixodes ricinus ticks, displays immunomodulatory and anti-hemostatic properties in vitro. Front Immunol. 12:626200.

Aounallah H, Bensaoud C, M'ghirbi Y, Faria F, Chmelar JI, Kotsyfakis M. (2020) Tick salivary compounds for targeted immunomodulatory therapy. Front Immunol. 11:583845.