Working group (Daniel Sojka)

This working group within the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Ticks focuses on the study of tick-borne diseases, in particular the study of babesiosis, using Babesia divergens and Babesia microti as model organisms. These red blood cell infecting Apicomplexan parasites belong to the order Piroplasmida, distant relatives of malaria causing Plasmodia. Together with closely related genus Theileria, Babesia parasites represent a worldwide emerging risk to both vertebrate animals and humans (zoonosis). Our research combines biochemical and functional characterization of important enzymes, especially protein kinases and proteases, associated with different phases of the Babesia life cycle to understand their specific roles in the mechanism of invasion, intracellular survival and proliferation, and egress from vertebrate red blood cells, as well as in sexual reproduction in the tick gut and transmission to peripheral tick tissues and back to the vertebrate host. Part of the methodological approach is then to validate the suitability of the studied enzymes as therapeutic targets for the development of the yet missing specific treatment of babesiosis with application especially in veterinary medicine.

Group Leader
Sojka Daniel, RNDr. Ph.D.
Associated scientists
Franta Zdeněk, RNDr., Ph.D.
Jalovecká Marie, RNDr. Ph.D.
Alper Dede, PhD
Levytska Viktoriya Ph.D.
PhD Student
Filipe Ana Maria Osório De Barros De Almeida MSc
Šnebergerová Pavla, Mgr.
Makušová Ľubica, Mgr.
Sviridova Ekaterina, MSc. Ph.D.


Supported Projects (last 5 years):¨

Sojka D: Grant agency of the Czech Republic-GACR/ P502/ 17-14631S for 2017-2019: Selective inhibition of babesial proteasomes.

Jalovecká M/Sojka D: Grant agency of the Czech Republic-GACR/ P302/ 21-11299S for 2021-2024: Functional Analysis of Babesia Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinases.

Sojka D/ Kawazu S: Czech Academy of Sciences Mobility plus project/JSPS for 2021-2024: Establish-ment of DiCre parasite lineages to study an essential aspartyl peptidase of Babesia divergens

Sojka D: Grant agency of the Czech Republic-GACR/ P302/ 23-07850S for 2023-2026: Master proteases driving the apical complex of Babesia parasites

Levytska V.: MSCA4Ukraine (2023-2025): Definition of Babesia biology - Hemoglobin as a source of nutrients for the intracellular develepement of the parasite and disease progression

Šnebergerová P.: Grant Agency of the University of South Bohemia (GAJU; 120/2021/P):  Plasmepsin IX/X analogues in Babesia and their validation as novel drug targets

Šnebergerová P.: Grant Agency of the University of South Bohemia (GAJU; 075/2023/P): Exploring aspartyl proteases as druggable regulators of invasion to host erythrocytes by Babesia parasites


Selected publications:

Arbon, D., Mach, J., Čadková, A., Sipkova, A., Stursa, J., Klanicová, K., Machado, M., Ganter, M., Levytska, V., Sojka, D., Truksa, J., Werner, L., Sutak, R. (2024). Chelation of mitochondrial iron as an antiparasitic strategy. ACS Infect. Dis. 10, 676–687.

Filipe A.M., Levytska V., Jalovecká M. (2024) Babesia divergensTrends Parasitol 40, 271–272.

Cubillos, E. F. G., Snebergerova, P., Borovi, S., Reichensdorferova, D., Levytska, V., Asada, M., Sojka, D., & Jalovecka, M. (2023). Establishment of a stable transfection and gene targeting system in Babesia divergensFront. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. 13, 1278041.

Florin-Christensen, M., Sojka, D., Ganzinelli, S., Šnebergerová, P., Suarez, C. E., Schnittger, L. (2023). Degrade to survive: the intricate world of piroplasmid proteases. Trends Parasitol 39, 532–546.

Sojka, D., Jalovecká, M., & Perner, J. (2022). Babesia, Theileria, Plasmodium and Hemoglobin. Microorganisms10, 1651.

Sojka D., Šnebergerová P., Robbertse L. (2021). Protease inhibition–an established strategy to combat infectious diseases. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, 5762

Šnebergerová P., Bartošová-Sojková P., Jalovecká M., Sojka D. (2021). Plasmepsin-like aspartyl proteases in Babesia. Pathogens 10, 1241.

Jalovecká, M., Sojka, D., Ascencio, M., Schnittger, L. (2019). Babesia Life Cycle - When Phylogeny Meets Biology. proteasome as a drug target. Trends Parasitol. 35, 356-368.

Jalovecká, M., Hartmann, D., Miyamoto, Y., Eckmann, L., Hajdušek, O., O'Donoghue, A.J., Sojka, D. (2018). Validation of Babesia proteasome as a drug target. Int J Parasitol - DDR 8, 394-402.

Jalovecká, M., Hajdušek, O., Sojka, D., Kopáček, P., & Malandrin, L. (2018). The Complexity of Piroplasms Life Cycles. Front. cell. infect. microbiol.8, 248.


Biology Centre CAS
Institute of Parasitology
Branišovská 1160/31
370 05 České Budějovice

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