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Cutting-edge science for health

Laboratory of Genetics of Model Diseases

Laboratory of Genetics of Model Diseases

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of several risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. These pathological conditions are determined multifactorially by many genes and their interactions with environmental effects. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) in humans which are based on the “common variants – common diseases“ hypothesis identified only a minor proportion of the total heritability of complex traits so far.

Statistically significant variants (SNPs – single nucleotide polymorphisms) are typically associated with a miniscule phenotypic variability without meaningful clinical effects. Studies in animal models of human complex diseases can provide a useful alternative. Experiments with rat models can control for both genetic background and environmental effects as well as enable genetic manipulation of experimental animals. The spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) is the most widely used animal model of essential hypertension and associated metabolic disturbances typical for metabolic syndrome. Although it cannot be expected that the individual predisposing genes themselves might be conserved between rats and humans, it is likely that the networks and pathways of genes leading to disease susceptibility will be conserved across species. Therefore, identification of the networks and pathways of genes underlying the cellular pathology of disease phenotypes in the rat could provide insight into the pathogenesis and treatment of the corresponding human diseases.

Our research is focused on these projects:

  • Identification of genes that regulate hemodynamic and metabolic traits in the SHR.
  • Identification of new genes coding for mitochondrial proteins and their role in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome.
  • Derivation of new animal models using highly effective methods for transgenesis and gene targeting.
  • Study of the role of inflammatory processes and oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome and possibility of pharmacologic interventions.

Current grant support.


Linkage and correlation analyses of intermediary phenotypes in the SHR for identification of candidate genes regulating pathophysiological traits

For genetic dissection of complex pathophysiological traits in recombinant inbred (RI) strains, it is possible to take the advantage of accumulated genotypes and intermediary phenotypes. Intermediate phenotypes have simpler genetic architectures and can be used for connecting variabilty at the DNA level with complex pathophysiological traits. Abundance of mRNA (transcriptome), proteins (proteome), metabolites (metabolome), etc. are the most widely used intermediary phenotypes.  More

In vivo functional analyses of candidate genes for hemodynamic and metabolic traits

Candidate genes for pathophysiological traits, identified by linkage and correlation analyses with intermediary phenotypes and by their sequencing, are tested by in vivo functional analysis in transgenic rescue or knockout experiments with the aim to identify quantitative trait loci at the molecular level and analyze responsible pathophysiological mechanisms.  More


Witte; F. - Ruiz-Orera; J. - Mattioli; C. C. - Blachut; S. - Adami; E. - Schulz; J. F. - Schneider-Lunitz; V. - Hummel; O. - Patone; G. - Mücke; M. B. - Šilhavý; Jan - Heinig; M. - Bottolo; L. - Sanchis; D. - Vingron; M. - Chekulaeva; M. - Pravenec; Michal - Hubner; N. - van Heesch; S. A trans locus causes a ribosomopathy in hypertrophic hearts that affects mRNA translation in a protein length-dependent fashion . Genome Biology. 2021; 22(1)); 191 . IF = 13.583 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Mihola; Ondřej - Landa; Vladimír - Pratto; F. - Brick; K. - Kobets; Tetyana - Kusari; Fitore - Gašić; Srdjan - Smagulova; F. - Grey; C. - Flachs; Petr - Gergelits; Václav - Třešňák; Karel - Šilhavý; Jan - Mlejnek; Petr - Camerini-Otero; R.D. - Pravenec; Michal - Petukhova; G.V. - Trachtulec; Zdeněk . Rat PRDM9 shapes recombination landscapes; duration of meiosis; gametogenesis; and age of fertility . BMC BIOLOGY. 2021; 19(1)); 86 . IF = 7.431 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Kurtz; T. W. - DiCarlo; S. E. - Pravenec; Michal - Morris Jr.; R. C. No evidence of racial disparities in blood pressure salt sensitivity when potassium intake exceeds levels recommended in the US dietary guidelines . American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2021; 320(5); H1903-H1918 . IF = 4.733 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Křížová; J. - Hůlková; M. - Čapek; V. - Mlejnek; Petr - Šilhavý; Jan - Tesařová; M. - Zeman; J. - Hansíková; H. Microarray and qPCR Analysis of Mitochondrial Metabolism Activation during Prenatal and Early Postnatal Development in Rats and Humans with Emphasis on CoQ(10) Biosynthesis . BIOLOGY-BASEL. 2021; 10(5)); 418 . IF = 5.079 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Junková; K. - Mirchi; L. F. - Chylíková; B. - Janků; M. - Šilhavý; Jan - Hüttl; M. - Marková; I. - Miklánková; D. - Včelák; J. - Malínská; H. - Pravenec; Michal - Šeda; O. - Liška; František . Hepatic Transcriptome Profiling Reveals Lack of Acsm3 Expression in Polydactylous Rats with High-Fat Diet-Induced Hypertriglyceridemia and Visceral Fat Accumulation . Nutrients. 2021; 13(5)); 1462 . IF = 5.717 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Šilhavý; Jan - Malínská; H. - Hüttl; M. - Marková; I. - Oliyarnyk; O. - Mlejnek; Petr - Šimáková; Miroslava - Liška; František - Kazdová; L. - Moravcová; R. - Novotný; J. - Pravenec; Michal . Downregulation of the Glo1 Gene Is Associated with Reduced Adiposity and Ectopic Fat Accumulation in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats . ANTIOXIDANTS. 2020; 9(12)); 1179 . IF = 6.312 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Kurtz; T. W. - Pravenec; Michal - DiCarlo; S. E. Strategies Are Needed to Prevent Salt-Induced Hypertension That Do Not Depend on Reducing Salt Intake . American Journal of Hypertension. 2020; 33(2); 116-118 . IF = 2.689 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Tan, A. L. M. - Langley, S. R. - Tan, Ch. F. - Chai, J. F. - Khoo, CH. M. - Leow, M. K.-S. - Khoo, E. Y. H. - Moreno-Moral, A. - Pravenec, Michal - Rotival, M. - Sadananthan, S. A. - Velan, S. S. - Venkataraman, K. - Chong, Y. S. - Lee, Y. S. - Sim, X. - Stunkel, W. - Liu, M. H. - Tai, E. S. - Petretto, E. Ethnicity-Specific Skeletal Muscle Transcriptional Signatures and Their Relevance to Insulin Resistance in Singapore . Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2019, 104(2), 465-486 . IF = 5.399 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Svoboda; Petr - Křížová; E. - Šestáková; Š. - Vápenková; K. - Knejzlík; Z. - Rimpelová; S. - Rayová; D. - Volfová; N. - Křížová; I. - Rumlová; M. - Sýkora; D. - Kizek; R. - Haluzík; M. - Zídek; Václav - Zídková; J. - Škop; V. Nuclear transport of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase is cell cycle-dependent in mammalian cells; and its inhibition slows cell growth . Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2019; 294(22); 8676-8689 . IF = 4.238 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Olson; E. - Pravenec; Michal - Landa; Vladimír - Koh-Tan; H.H.C. - Dominiczak; A. F. - McBride; M. W. - Graham; D. Transgenic overexpression of glutathione S-transferase mu-type 1 reduces hypertension and oxidative stress in the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat . Journal of Hypertension. 2019; 37(5); 985-996 . IF = 4.171 [ASEP]


Ing. Michal Pravenec, DrSc.

Head of the Laboratory

Ing. Jan Šilhavý, PhD.
Deputy Head of the Laboratory

Ing. Miroslava Šimáková, PhD.

Senior Researcher

Ing. Petr Mlejnek, PhD.
Senior Researcher

doc. MUDr. František Liška, PhD.

Senior Researcher

  Ing. Magdalena Melčová
PhD Student
Alena Musilová