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Aurelija Zvirbliene

Name of the laboratory

Department of Immunology and Cell Biology
Institute of Biotechnology, Life Sciences Center, Vilnius University
Sauletekio av. 7
LT-10257 Vilnius, Lithuania

Members of the laboratory

Members: Department of Immunology and Cell Biology
Unit Leader
Aurelija Zvirbliene
Research Fellows
Indre Kucinskaite-Kodze
Dovile Stravinskiene
PhD Students
Martynas Simanavicius

Laboratory activity

The Dept. of Immunology and Cell Biology is involved in the development and characterization of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) since 1995. The Department is a part of the newly established Life Sciences Center of Vilnius University with an appropriate infrastructure for cell culture work, immunochemical analysis, molecular biology experiments.

We perform all steps of MAb development - from the generation of recombinant antigens to the detailed characterization of the MAbs including epitope mapping. We also produce recombinant antibodies in different formats.

The network of our international collaborations includes both academic and industrial partners.

Research activities

We have generated hundreds of MAbs against different targets: viral antigens, bacterial virulence factors, cellular proteins, cytokines, hormones, allergens, chemical compounds. The largest antibody collection is generated against viral antigens. These MAbs are valuable tools for investigating antigenic structure of viruses, development of diagnostic assays and prevalence studies of viral infections.

We combine antibody technologies with virus-like particle technologies.

For producing more efficient immunogens, we employ virus-like particles as a carrier for target epitopes to increase their immunogenicity. This approach provides possibilities to generate antibodies against short and non-immunogenic protein sequences.

For construction of recombinant antibodies, we use gene sequences encoding the variable parts of immunoglobulin heavy and light chains from hybridoma cells producing well-characterized MAbs. Recombinant antibodies are generated in different formats - as single-chain antibodies (scFv) and Fc-engineered antibodies where the scFv derived from hybridoma cells is joined to human IgG Fc fragment. Also, we employ recombinant virus-like particles as a carrier for antibody molecules, both scFv and Fc-engineered scFv. This innovative approach allows generation of recombinant multimeric antibodies displayed on virus-like particles.

A significant part of our MAbs are commercialized and/or included into diagnostic kits. We have contracts with industrial partners from Lithuania, UK, Germany, Finland, USA.

Techniques available

  • Monoclonal antibody production in mice
  • Polyclonal antibody production
  • Cloning techniques
  • Antibody purification
  • Antibody characterization and conjugation
  • Epitope mapping
  • Mycoplasma testing
  • ELISA, Western blot, flow cytometry, immunofluorescence microscopy
  • Production of recombinant antigens in bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells
  • Construction of chimeric virus-like particles harbouring target epitopes
  • Recombinant antibody production
  • Construction of recombinant antibodies displayed on virus-like particles

Publications (2016-present)

  • Takkinen K, Žvirblienė A. Recent advances in homogenous immunoassays based on resonance energy transfer. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2018; 55: 16-22
  • Simanavicius M, Tamosiunas PL, Petraityte-Burneikiene R, Johne R, Ulrich RG, Zvirbliene A, Kucinskaite-Kodze I. Generation in yeast and antigenic characterization of hepatitis E virus capsid protein virus-like particles. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018, 102(1): 185–198.
  • Simanavicius M., Juskaite K., Verbickaite A., Jasiulionis M., Tamosiunas P.L., Petraityte-Burneikiene R., Zvirbliene A., Ulrich R.G., Kucinskaite-Kodze I. Detection of rat hepatitis E virus, but not human pathogenic hepatitis E virus genotype 1-4 infections in wild rats from Lithuania. Vet Microbiol. 2018 ; 221:129-133.
  • Dalgėdienė I., Lučiūnaitė A., Žvirblienė A. Activation of Macrophages by Oligomeric Proteins of Different Size and Origin. Mediators of Inflammation, 2018. ID 7501985
  • Bulavaite A, Lasickiene R, Tamosiunas PL, Simanavicius M, Sasnauskas K, Zvirbliene A: Synthesis of human parainfluenza virus 4 nucleocapsid-like particles in yeast and their use for detection of virus-specific antibodies in human serum. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2017, 101:2991–3004.
  • Kailasan S, Garrison J, Ilyas M, Chipman P, McKenna R, Kantola K, Soderlund-Venermo M, Kucinskaite-Kodze I, Zvirbliene A, Agbandje-McKenna M: Mapping Antigenic Epitopes on the Human Bocavirus Capsid. Journal of Virology 2016, 90:4670–4680.
  • Kucinskaite-Kodze I, Pleckaityte M, Bremer CM, Seiz PL, Zilnyte M, Bulavaite A, Mickiene G, Zvirblis G, Sasnauskas K, Glebe D, Zvirbliene A: New broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies against hepatitis B virus surface antigen. Virus Research 2016, 211:209–221.
  • Tamosiunas PL, Petraityte-Burneikiene R, Bulavaite A, Marcinkeviciute K, Simutis K, Lasickiene R, Firantiene R, Emuzyte R, Zvirbliene A, Sasnauskas K: Yeast-generated virus-like particles as antigens for detection of human bocavirus 1-4 specific antibodies in human serum. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2016, 100:4935–4946.
  • Bulavaite A, Lasickiene R, Vaitiekaite A, Sasnauskas K, Zvirbliene A: Synthesis of human parainfluenza virus 2 nucleocapsid protein in yeast as nucleocapsid-like particles and investigation of its antigenic structure. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2016, 100:4523–4534.

Patents (2010-Present)

  • Zvirbliene A., Kucinskaite I., Pleckaityte M., Zvirblis G. Monoclonal antibodies against vaginolysin. EP2398823 (B1), WO2010095917 (A1) (2016).
  • Rimseliene, R, Ulcinaite, D, Gagiliene, B, Sukackaite R., Zvirbliene A., Kucinskaite-Kodze I., Dekaminaviciute D. Antibodies that bind thermophillic DNA polymerases. PCT/EP2017/050648 (2016)
  • D.Dekaminavičiūtė, M.Plečkaitytė, D.Matulis, A.Žvirblienė. Novel recombinant antibody against human carbonic anhydrase XII. Patent No. LT 6331 B (2016)
  • M.Plečkaityte, E.Mištinienė, J.H.Pesliakas, G.Žvirblis, A.Žvirblienė. Recombinant single-chain antibody fragment neutralizing the cytolytic activity of vaginolysin. PCT/LT2011/000004 (2011).
  • A.Žvirblienė, A.Gedvilaitė, R.Lasickienė. Monoclonal antibodies against Merkel polyomavirus major capsid protein VP1. Patent LT 5843 B (2011).
  • A.Žvirblienė, I.Kučinskaitė-Kodzė. M.Plečkaitytė, G.Žvirblis. Monoclonal antibodies against vaginolysin. Patent LT 5705 B (2010).
  • Žvirblienė A., Gedvilaitė A., Ulrich, R., Sasnauskas K. Process for the production of monoclonal antibodies using chimeric VLPs. US 7,919,314 (B2), 2011.