BLI Environmental Toxicology Research Group

Leader of the research group: 
Profile of the group: 

The core of the research program of the of Chemical ecology and Neurobiology Research Team is the analysis in invertebrates, mainly in mollusks, of chemosensory processes, interactions as well as the processing of chemical stimuli originating from the surrounding. All these aim to reveal the chemical ecological aspects of animal-plant and plant-animal interactions. In the course of our investigations we shall analyze the effect of chemical stimuli of plant or animal origin, as well as their neuronal processing related to the physiology and behavioral forms of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. First of all, we have been studying the aspects of senso-motor signalization of mollusks, with special attention to chemosensory input and related feeding and locomotion, as both representing the two basic forms of behavior involving the adaptive responses of the animals given to environmental challenges. A further target of or research is to reveal the general rules of central and peripheral processes as well neuronal interactions related to different forms of behavior, especially at the level of membrane expression of receptors and ion channels, and intracellular signaling. The investigations are performed by complex methodology, including the application of functional neuroanatomy, micro electrophysiology, bioassays, biochemical-pharmacology and molecular biology. Our experimental animals are the long-time model species of comparative neurobiology, neuroethology, such as the terrestrial snail, Helix pomatia, the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. In addition, novel objects such as the sub-species of the invasive bivalve of Lake Balaton, Dreissean polymprpha and Dreissena bugensis, will also enrich the palette. Our research will deal with the major topics as follows. i) Cellular basis of central and peripheral processing of chemosensory information as well as the analysis of changes appearing during con- and interspecific chemical communication. ii) Organization of peripheral (motoric) effectors responding to environmental (chemical) stimuli, with special attention to changes in receptor expression. iii) Changes of intracellular signaling cascades during species-environment interaction, with special attention to peptide-protein profile alterations evoked by different chemical stimuli. iv) Functional morphological and chemical neuroanatomical organization of neural networks, identified neurons and regulatory systems related to them. v) Neuroembryological studies under control and chemically manipulated conditions, with special attention to gangliogenesis, development of chemical specificity and intercellular connections (synaptogenesis), appearance of receptor molecules and adult-like behaviors.

Selected publications:


Mörtl, M. Darvas, B. Vehovszky, Á. Győri, J. Székács, A. (2019): Contamination of the guttation liquid of two common weeds with neonicotinoids from coated maize seeds planted in close proximity SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 649: 1137-1143


Ágnes Vehovszky, Anna Farkas, Vivien Csikós, András Székács, Mária Mörtl, János Győri (2018): Neonicotinoid insecticides are potential substrates of the multixenobiotic resistance (MXR) mechanism in the non-target invertebrate, Dreissena sp. AQUATIC TOXICOLOGY, Volume 205, December 2018, Pages 148-155


Farkas A, Ács A, Vehovszky Á, Falfusynska H, Stoliar O, Specziár A, Győri J (2017): Interspecies comparison of selected pollution biomarkers in dreissenid spp. inhabiting pristine and moderately polluted sites SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT 599–600: pp. 760-770.


Vehovszky Á, Farkas A, Ács A, Stoliar O, Székács A, Mörtl M, Győri J (2015): Neonicotinoid insecticides inhibit cholinergic neurotransmission in a molluscan (Lymnaea stagnalis) nervous system AQUATIC TOXICOLOGY 167: pp. 172-179. (2015)


Falfushynska H, Gnatyshyna L, Osadchuk O, Farkas A, Vehovszky Á, Carpenter DO, Győri J, Stoliar O (2014): Diversity of the molecular responses to separate wastewater effluents in freshwater mussels COMPARATIVE BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY C-TOXICOLOGY AND PHARMACOLOGY 164: pp. 51-58. (2014)