The research topic of the group is molecular biology of the viroids. Viroids are the smallest RNA pathogens that infect the higher plants including some economically important crops. The non-coding viroid RNA genome supplies genetic information such as replicapability, pathogenicity, mobility and host-specificity. It is assumed that the RNA sequence folds in a specific secondary structure that provides binding signals for host (protein) factors. It is further assumed that these factors exert in combination with the viroid RNA the genetic program of this RNA replicon. In this context the group is focused on molecular host-viroid interactions mediating viroid replication and movement in host plants and parasitic plants. A role of post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) in viroid pathogenicity is currently under thorough investigation.

In the near future the group intends to evaluate the viroid–host interference process by searching for unique genes with abnormal expression in viroid infected plants. Further persons of the team are at present Tihomir Vachev a PhD student, Veselin Baev- experienced in Bioinformatics, and two graduate students.

Recent projects:

Viroids, host and parasitic plants interactions - University Research Grant; National Science Fund: Bilateral Greek-Bulgarian Program; Young Scientist Research Program.

Recent publications:

M Gozmanova, M Denti, I Minkov, M Tsagris, M Tabler "Characterization of the RNA motif responsible for the specific interaction of potato spindle tuber viroid RNA (PSTVd) and the tomato protein Virp1", Nucleic Acids Research, 2003, Vol.31, No.19, 5534-5543;  IF: 6.575

M Gozmanova, Ma Denti, I Minkov, M Tsagris, Mn Tabler. "Study on the affinity and specificity of the interaction between Potato Spindle tuber Viroid and tomato protein Virp1" Proceedings of the Balkan Scientific Conference of Biology in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) from 19th till 21st of May 2005 (P.253-262)

G Yahubyan, I Denev and M Gozmanova. "Determination of the multiple isoforms of some antioxidant enzymes in Haberlea rhodopensis" Proceedings of the Balkan Scientific Conference of Biology in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) from 19th till 21st of May 2005,(P.226-230)

Staff involved:

Name Position Main research interest
Dr. Mariyana GozmanovaResearch group leaderViroids,  bioinformatics
Dr. Vesselin BaevResearcherBioinformatics, micro RNA, oncogenes
Tihomir VachevPhD studentViroids, Protein-RNA interactions
Desislava IvanovaGraduate studentViroids, RNA Biology and Bioinformatics
Elisa NeshevaTechnicianRNA Biology