Lipid-Protein Interactions

Head of Department

Prof. Galya Staneva, PhD

  • E-mail:<
  • Phone: 02 979 2623
  • Address: “Acad. G. Bonchev” Str., Block 21, Room 322
    Sofia 1113, Bulgaria


Main research topics

The research interest is focused on the structural organization and functional activity of biological membranes under normal and pathological conditions. Investigations are carried out on the role of lipid molecules and their functionally active metabolites in the genesis and development of various pathological cellular processes. Studies are performed on the lateral organization of membrane lipids, transmembrane signal transduction and phospholipid asymmetry. The role of fatty acid and phospholipid molecules in the processes of carcinogenesis is also investigated.

The experimental approaches involve modulation of the level of cholesterol and polyunsaturated fatty acids, oncogene-induced transformation, lipid peroxidation, cell cultivation in three-dimensional conditions etc. Studies are performed on the phase behavior of lipids, isolated from membranes of cells with modified lipid molecules or from cells related to definite pathological processes.

Giant unilamellar vesicles are used as biomimetic systems to visualize the lipid phase separation by means of fluorescence microscopy. Local microinjection is used to examine the interaction of active macromolecules (enzymes, DNA, etc.) with lipid bilayer. This offers the possibility of monitoring the changes in lipid phase behavior and the morphological transformations of giant vesicles.

Research projects

Current projects

  1. Investigating the mechanism of action of xylooligosacharides and B-glucanes with respect of raising their prebiotic potential
    Bulgarian National Science Fund, № DFNI-B01/7, 2012-2014
    Coordinator: Prof. Albena Momchilova

Past projects

  1. Molecular mechanisms of biological membranes aging. Assessment of the efficiency of the antioxidants quercetin and resveratrol in delaying the processes of aging
    Bulgarian National Science Fund,№ DFNI-B01/5, 2012-2014
    Coordinator: Acad. Kamen Koumanov
  2. Phospholipase A2 and lipid peroxidation in neurodegenerative pathologies. How model membranes could contribute for elucidation of the mechanisms of lipid peroxidation on membrane organization?
    Bulgarian National Science Fund, № DTK-02/5, 2010-2013
  3. Studying the adsorption of plasma proteins and cell adhesion onto conductive 2D and 3D dimensional polymer composite surfaces, with application to regenerative medicine
    Bulgarian National Science Fund, № DNTS/Germany/01/0003
    Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Rumiana Tzoneva
  4. Study of the influence of an applied electric field on the adsorption of adhesive proteins and  endotelisation of nanostructure biomaterials for needs of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine
    Bulgarian National Science Fund and DAAD, № Д0 02/326
    Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Rumiana Tzoneva
  5. Development of interdisciplinary scientific center for investigation of probiotics and their functional potential on microorganisms related to human health Bulgarian National Science Fund, № DRNF 02/2, 2010-2011
  6. Oxidative lipidomics: Influence of oxidative stress and antioxidant defense on the composition, structural organization and functional activity of membrane raft domains
    Bulgarian National Science Fund, № DO02-212/08, 2009-2012
  7. Membrane microdomains. Role of ceramides in maintenance of their structure and functions. Model membranes – a necessary approach in investigation of the lipid organization in cells.
    National program for development of the scientific potential, MES, 2005-2006
  8. Lateral organization and asymmetric distribution of lipid molecules in native and model membranes
    MES, 2005-2007
  9. Characterization of the membrane organization and dynamics through model systems composed of synthetic lipids and natural membrane extracts
    National program for development of the scientific potential MES, 2007-2009

International collaboration

  • Prof. C. Wolf, Laboratoire commun de spectrométrie, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6
  • Prof. P. Quinn, King’s College London
  • Prof. M. Angelova, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Matière et Systèmes Complexes (MSC)


  • 2005 – Albena Momchilova – Award of the Union of Bulgarian Scientists
  • 2006 – Galya Staneva – Award of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for young scientists

Lecture courses

  • Cellular border complex – Sofia University
  • Biological membranes – Sofia University

Selected publications

  1. Koumanov K.S., Momchilova A.B., Quinn P.J., Wolf C. Ceramides increase the activity of the secretory phospholipase A2 and alter its fatty acid specificity – Biochem. J., 2002, 363, 45-51.
  2. Tessier C. Quinn P.J., Koumanov K., Trugnan G., Reinteau D., Wolf C. Modulation of the phase heterogeneity of aminoglycerophopholipid mixtures by sphingomyelin and monovalent cations: maintenance of the lamellar arrangement in the biological membranes. Eur. Biophys. J., 2004, 33,513-521.
  3. Staneva G., Angelova M.I., Koumanov K. Phospholipase A2 Promotes Raft Budding and Fission from Giant Liposomes. Chem. Phys. Lipids, 2004, 129, 53-62.
  4. Staneva G., Momchilova A., Angelova M., Koumanov K. Regulatory effect of sphingolipids on secretory phospholipase A2. A comparative study using SUV and GUV. C.R. Acad. Bulg. Sci., 2004, 57,(1), 59-64.
  5. Koumanov K., Momchilova A., Wolf C. Bimodal regulatory effect of melittin and phospholipase A2-activating protein on human type II secretory phospholipase A2. Cell Biol. Int., 2003, 27, 871-877.
  6. Pankov R., Markovska T., Hazarosova R., Antonov P., Ivanova L., Momchilova A. – Cholesterol distribution in plasma membranes of b1 integrin-expressing and b1 integrin-deficient fibroblasts. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2005, 442, 160–168.
  7. Staneva G., Seigneuret M., Koumanov K., Trugnan G., Angelova M. I. Detergents induce raft-like domains budding and fission from giant unilamellar heterogeneous vesicles A direct microscopy observation. Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, 2005, 136 , 55-66.
  8. Koumanov K. S., Tessier C., Momchilova A. B., Rainteau D., Wolf C., Quinn P. J. Comparative lipid analysis and structure of detergent-resistant membrane raft fractions isolated from human and ruminant erythrocytes. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2005, 434, 150–158.
  9. Pankov R., Markovska T., Antonov P.L. Ivanova, Momchilova A. The plasma membrane lipid composition affects fusion between cells and model membranes. Chemico-biological interactions, 2006, 164, 167-173.
  10. Damianova R., Stefanova N., Cukierman E., Momchilova A., Pankov R. Three-dimensional matrix induces sustained activation of ERK1/2 via Src/Ras/Raf signaling pathway. Cell Biol Int., 2007, 32, 229-234.
  11. Lazarov S., Yanev E., Momchilova A., Markovska T., Ivanova L., Pankov R. Alterations of the composition and metabolism of pulmonary surfactant phospholipids induced by experimental peritonitis in rats. Chem Biol Interact., 2007, 169(2), 73-79.
  12. Valtcheva-Sarker R., Stephanova E., Hristova K., Altankov G., Momchilova A., Pankov R. Halothane affects focal adhesion proteins in the A 549 cells. Mol Cell Biochem. Mol Cell Biochem., 2007, 295(1-2), 59-64.
  13. Pankov R. and Momchilova A., Cell Adhesions and Signaling – a Tool for Biocompatibility Assessment, In: NATO Science Series Volume: Nanoengineered Systems for Regenerative Medicine, Edd. Shastri V., and Altankov, G., 2008.
  14. Staneva G., Momchilova A., Wolf C., Quinn P., Koumanov K. Membrane microdomains: role of ceramides in the maintenance of their structure and functions. Biochim Biophys Acta., 2009, 1788, 666-675.
  15. Jordanova A., Stefanova N., Staneva G., Pankov R., Momchilova A., Lalchev Z. Surface Properties and Behavior of Lipid Extracts from Plasma Membranes of Cells Cultured as Monolayer and in Tissue-like Conditions. Cell Biochem Biophys., 2009, 54, 47-55.
  16. Pankov R., Momchilova A. Fluorescent labeling techniques for investigation of fibronectin fibrillogenesis (labeling fibronectin fibrillogenesis). Methods Mol Biol., 2009, 522, 261-274.
  17. Stefanova N., Staneva G., Petkova D., Lupanova T., Pankov R., Momchilova A. Cell culturing in a threedimentional matrix affects the localization and properties of plasma membrane cholesterol, Cell Biol. Int., 2009, 33, 1079-1086.
  18. Lupanova T., Stefanova N., Petkova D., Staneva G., Jordanova A., Koumanov K., Pankov R., Momchilova A. Alterations in the content and physiological role of sphingomyelin in plasma membranes of cells cultured in three-dimensional matrix. Mol Cell Biochem., 2010, 340,215-22.
  19. Lupanova T., Ivanova L., Staneva G., Markovska T., Petkova D., Pankov R., Momchilova A. Plasma membrane phospholipase A2 substrate specificity Is altered by cell cuturing in three-dimensional environment. Compt. Rend. Bulg. Acad. Sci., 63, 2010, 543-546.
  20. Petkova D., Momchilova A ., Slotte J.P. Tumor necrosis factor-alfa stimulates sphingomyelin turnover in human skin fibroblasts by two different pathways. Biotechnology and Biotechnology Equipment, 2010, 24, 1631-1637.
  21. Lupanova T., Markovska T., Petkova D., Staneva G., Ivanova L., Pankov R., Momchilova A. Lipid peroxidation in control and ras-transformed fibroblasts after incorporation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, Compt. Rend. Bulg. Acad. Sci. 2010, 63, 10-12
  22. Damyanova R., Lupanova T., Petkova D., Markovska T., Ivanova L., Staneva G., Pankov R., Momchilova A. Oxidative stress-induced alterations in fibroblastplasma membrane lipids, Compt. Ren. Bulg. Acad. Sci., 2010, 63, 12-14.
  23. Georgieva R., Koumanov K., Momchilova A., Tessier C., Staneva G. Effect of sphingosine on domain morphology in giant vesicles. J. Colloid Interface Sci., 2010, 350(2):502-10.
  24. Arabajiev B., Petkova R., Chakarov S., Momchilova A., R. Pankov.Do we need more human embryonic stem cell lines? Biotech. Biotech Equip., 2010 (in press).
  25. Mladenova C., Mladenov I. Vector decomposition of finite rotations. Rep. Math. Phys., 2011, 68, 107-117.
  26. Djondjorov P., Vassilev V., Mladenov I. Analytic Description and explicit parametrisation of the equilibrium shapes of elastic rings and tubes under uniform hydrostatic pressure. I. J. Mech. Sci., 2011, 53, 355–364.
  27. Mladenov I., Hadzhilazova M., Djondjorov P., Vassilev V., On the generalized sturmian spirals, Compt. Rend. Bulg. Acad. Sci., 2011, 64, 633-640
  28. Staneva G., Seigneuret M., Conjeaud H., Puff N., Angelova M. Making a Tool of an Artifact: The Application of Photoinduced Lo Domains in Giant Unilamellar Vesicles to the Study of Lo/Ld Phase Spinodal Decomposition and Its Modulation by the Ganglioside GM1. Langmuir 2011 Nov 14. (Epub ahead of print) PMID:22026409.
  29. Alves I., Staneva G., Tessier C., Salgado G., Nuss P. The interaction of antipsychotic drugs with lipids and subsequent lipid reorganization investigated using biophysical methods. Biochim Biophys Acta 2011 Aug;1808(8):2009-18. Epub 2011, Mar 4, PMID: 21377444.
  30. Staneva G., Lupanova Т., Chachaty C., Petkova D., Koumanov K., Pankov R., Momchilova A. Structural organization of plasma membrane lipids isolated from cells cultured as a monolayer and in tissue-like conditions, Journal of Colloids and Interface Science, 2011, 359 (1), 202-9.

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