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Cell Biochemistry Group, Vilnius University, Vilnius/Lithuania


Dr. Violeta Jonusiene

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Faculty of Natural Sciences, Vilnius University

21/27 M. K. Čiurlionio, LT-03103 Vilnius, Lithuania

Email: violeta.jonusiene(at)gf.vu.lt



Our Research

Tumour cell response to cytotoxic treatment depends on the cell itself and the mode of treatment. We work with cells in vitro and believe that this approach will disclose the weakest chains in cell defense and enlighten the effective roads to tumour eradication. Different modes of anti-cancer treatment as well as different chemotherapeutics induce different damage and stimulate different mechanisms of cell defense and death. We apply and compare two methods inducing cell death: photodynamic treatment and chemotherapy. From the cell point of view, we develop and study the cells with different resistance to treatment. The stimulation of cell death and survival pathways is the main area of our research with emphasis on the hallmarks of apoptosis, autophagy, deviated cell cycle, over- and under-expression of danger signaling proteins. Molecular mechanisms are investigated using methods of microscopy and flow-cytometry as well as transcriptomic and proteomic analysis.

The final goal is to develop a scheme of targeted/combined treatment on the cell level.


  • Prof. Vida Kirveliene
  • Dr. Daiva Dabkeviciene
  • Dr. Ausra Sasnauskiene
  • Dr. Violeta Jonusiene
  • Vida Piskarskiene
  • PhD students:
  • Neringa Daugelaviciene
  • Egle Kukcinaviciute
  • Bachelor and Master students.


Cell tissue culture techniques, bright-field and fluorescence microscopy, methods of genetic-engineering, gene silencing, quantitative RT-PCR, proteomic analysis, Western Blot, ELISA, statistical analysis.


Leica SP5 confocal microscope,  epi-fluorescence microscope Olympus AX70, flow cytometer FACSCalibur (BD), Real-Time PCR system StepOne Plus (Life Technologies), 2D Electrophoresis System from GE Healthcare (Life Technologies), Equipment for cell cultivation and spectrophotometric, fluorometric analysis, Software for proteomic and statistical analysis.


Our laboratory is located in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Vilnius University, in the summer of 2015 our department is moving to Joint Centre for Life Sciences, where a number of open access centers will be concentrated (Proteomics, Biospectroscopy, Bioinformatics and others).


  1. Carcinoma cells resistance to chemotherapy in vitro: autophagy, cytokines and oxidative stress. Research Council of Lithuania, 2014-2016.
  2. Biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals: basic and applied research, EU Structural Funds, 2012-2015.
  3. The expression of Notch signaling pathway genes in endometrial cancer and the prognostic value, Research Council of Lithuania, 2011-2012.
  4. Prognostic and predictive markers in oncology, Norwegian Funds, 2008-2011.
  5. Molecular diagnostics for treatment individualisation in oncology, Research Council of Lithuania, 2008-2009.
  6. Modulation of experimental tumor response to photodynamic therapy, Research Council of Lithuania, 2008.
  7. Determination factors of VEGF increases expression by genes silencing method Research Council of Lithuania, 2007.
  8. Significance of p21 to cell death induction: gene silencing. Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation, 2006.
  9. Expression of cytokines in tumor cells after therapeutic treatment in vitro. Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation, 2006.
  10. Expression of particular genes in carcinoma cells after therapeutic treatment in vitro. Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation, 2005.
  11. European Commission 5th Framework Program Science Center of Excellence program project “Cell biology and Lasers: towards new technologies“, 2001 - 2004.
  12. “Light in biomedicine: diagnostics and therapy”. Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation, 2000 - 2004.

Main Publications

  1. Dabkeviciene D, Sasnauskiene A, Leman E, Kvietkauskaite R, Kirveliene V. Differential expression of VEGF and IL-1alpha after photodynamic treatment in combination with doxorubicin or taxotere // Anticancer Res. 2014 34(10): 5295-302.
  2. Jonusiene V, Sasnauskiene A, Lachej N, Kanopiene D, Dabkeviciene D, Sasnauskiene S, Kazbariene B, Didziapetriene J. Down-regulated expression of Notch signaling molecules in human endometrial cancer // Medical Oncology. 2013; 30(1): 485.
  3. Dabkevičienė D, Sasnauskiene A, Leman E, Kvietkauskaite R, Daugelaviciene N, Stankevičius V, Jurgelevicius V, Juodka B, Kirveliene V. mTHPC-mediated photodynamic treatment up-regulates the cytokines VEGF and IL-1alpha // Photochemistry and Photobiology. 2012, 88: 432-9. 
  4. Klionsky DJ,  Sasnauskiene A, et al. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy // Autophagy. 2012, 8: 445-544. 
  5. Savickiene J, Treigyte G, Jonusiene V, Bruzaite R, Borutinskaite VV, Navakauskiene R. Epigenetic changes by zebularine leading to enhanced differentiation of human promyelocytic leukemia NB4 and KG1 cells. Mol Cell Biochem. 2012, 359: 245-61 
  6. Sasnauskiene A, Kadziauskas J, Vezelyte N, Jonusiene V, Kirveliene V. Apoptosis, autophagy and cell cycle arrest following photodamage to mitochondrial interior // Apoptosis. 2009, 14: 276-286. 
  7. Sasnauskiene A, Kadziauskas J, Vezelyte N, Jonusiene V, Kirveliene V. Damage targeted to the mitochondrial interior induces autophagy, cell cycle arrest and, only at high doses, apoptosis // Autophagy. 2009, 5: 743-744. 
  8. Kirveliene V, Grazeliene G, Dabkeviciene D, Micke I, Kirvelis D, Juodka B, Didziapetriene J. Schedule-dependent interaction between Doxorubicin and mTHPC-mediated photodynamic therapy in murine hepatoma in vitro and in vivo // Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology. 2006, 57: 65-72.
  9. Jonusiene V, Sasnauskiene S, Juodka B. Cloning and characterization of Tetrahymena pyriformis translation elongation factor 1B α and γ subunits // Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters.  2005, 10: 689-696. 
  10. Mickuviene I, Kirveliene V, Juodka B. Experimental survey of non-clonogenic viability assays for adherent cells in vitro // Toxicology in vitro. 2004, 18: 639-648.
Cell Biochemistry Group