Department of Biology

Type of project

ARIS projects

Type of project

Basic research project




01.10.2022 - 30.09.2025


1,46 FTE

Project manager at BF

Butala Matej

Research Organisation Partners

  • National Institute of Biology
  • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  • »Jožef Stefan« Institute
  • Agricultural Institute of Slovenia


Bacteria are preyed upon by bacteriophages (phages), which, like other viruses, hijack the host`s cellular machinery to replicate. It is becoming increasingly clear that phages can have a significant impact not only on bacteria, but also on eukaryotes. In this project, we will determine the physiological changes in the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis serovar israelensis (including sporulation rate and production of crystal toxins) and insect host enforced by phage-encoded proteins. It is worth noting that majority of biolarvicidal products are based on entomopathogenic B. thuringiensis serovar israelensis. In addition, we will test whether the phage genome (prophage) is packaged in endospores that can allow safe entry of prophage into the insect body. In addition, we will investigate whether phage regulators that affect processes in bacteria, also affect insect larvae. We will also investigate whether similar regulators that modulate phage-baterium-larvae interaction, exist also in other phage or bacteria.

We believe that the findings from this project will provide new fundamental knowledge to understand how phage and bacterial transmission is facilitated to other trophic levels.

Mosquitoes are one of the most recognized diseasse carrying vectors. The results of this project could pave the way for the development of improved biopesticides.


The phases of the project and their realization

  1. The analysis of the effect of the selected prophage or its components on the phenotype of  B. thuringiensis serovar israelensis. (accomplishment in 0-36 months from the start of the project)

  2. The analysis of the interaction of the selectedphage or phage regulatory proteins with the insect cell or larvae.  (accomplishment in 0-30

  3. To Identify proteins that function similary to the regulators studied in phases 1 and 2 of this project in other phages and bacteria. (accomplishment in 19-31 months from the start of the project) months from the start of the project)