Institute of Experimental Medicine CAS

The group is focused on studying the cell nucleus plasticity namely during early mammalian embryogenesis. The process of differentiation and de-differentiation is accompanied by dramatic changes of the nucleus morphology and epigenetic remodelling of chromatin. The aim of our group is to characterize these changes and to define the role of specific sub-nuclear organelles in the process.


Deputy Head:

Petra Herlová, MSc.
Phone: +420 241 062 232

Undergraduate Student:

Vendula Václavková

PhD Student:

Jasper Chrysolite Paul, MSc.

Important results in 2020

1. Acrosin is essential for fertilisation
For a successful fertilisation, the sperm must penetrate through the glycoprotein coat surrounding the oocyte, the zona pellucida. It is assumed that this step is governed by partial lysis of the zona pellucida by hydrolytic enzymes present in the sperm acrosome, with acrosin being the most abundant enzyme. However, evidence for this has been lacking. In collaboration with our Japanese colleagues we have prepared a knockout golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) model, which helped to clarify the role of acrosin in this process. 

Hirose, M., Honda, A., Fulka, H. et al.: (2020) Acrosin is essential for sperm penetration through the zona pellucida in hamsters, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117,5,2513-2518

2. The soluble germinal vesicle component is responsible for the somatic cell remodelling after its transfer

Somatic cell nucleus transfer experiments show that the oocyte is capable of remodelling the transferred nucleus to such an extent that a new individual can be born. However, what oocyte components are responsible for the process is not entirely clear. Using the selective enucleation we have shown that it is the soluble nuclear fraction, which has the biggest effect on the transferred nucleus. The selective enucleation will allow us to study the replication dependent and independent processes of nuclear reprogramming. The article was selected as an “Outstanding paper 2019” and got a cover of the October 2019 issue of Journal of Reproduction and Development.


Fulka, H., Ogura, A., Loi, P., et al.: (2019) Dissecting the role of the germinal vesicle nuclear envelope and soluble content in the process of somatic cell remodelling and reprogramming, Journal of Reproduction and Development, 65,5,433-441


Dzijak, R., Galeta, J., Vázquez, A., Kozák, J., Matoušová, M., Fulka, H., Dračínský, M., Vrabel, M.: (2021) Structurally Redesigned Bioorthogonal Reagents for Mitochondria-Specific Prodrug Activation. JACS Au. 2021 Jan 25;1(1):23-30. doi: 10.1021/jacsau.0c00053. Epub 2020 Dec 15. PMID: 33554213; PMCID: PMC7851953.


Benc, M., Martinkova, S., Rychtarova, J., Fulka, J., Bartkova, A., Fulka, H., Laurincik, J.: (2020) Assessing the effect of interspecies oocyte nucleolar material dosage on embryonic development, Theriogenology, DOI:  10.1016/j.theriogenology.2020.06.001

Fulka, H. , Rychtarova, J., Loi, P.: (2020) The nucleolus-like and precursor bodies of mammalian oocytes and embryos and their possible role in post-fertilization centromere remodelling, Biochemical Society Transactions, 48,581-593

Hirose, M., Honda, A., Fulka, H. et al.: (2020) Acrosin is essential for sperm penetration through the zona pellucida in hamsters, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117,5,2513-2518

GAČR 20-04465S (1. 1. 2020 – 31. 12. 2022)
Understanding the factors critical for successful paternal genome remodelling: Dissecting the role of oocyte components

Prof. Olga Zatsepina, DrSci.
Laboratory of functional organization of the cell nucleus
Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry RAS
Moscow, Russia

Prof. Pasqualino Loi
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Laboratory of Embryology
University of Teramo
Teramo, Italy

Dr. Milan Vrábel
Chemistry of Bioconjugates
Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Prague, Czech Republic

Dr. Tomáš Etrych
Biomedical Polymers
Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry CAS
Prague, Czech Republic

Mail room:
Building La 2nd floor, Office No. 2.18
Mo–Fri   9:00–12:00

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Vídeňská 1083
142 20 Praha 4-Krč
Czech Republic
+420 241 062 230