• Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari

immunity and infection

Studies in this broad aerea focus on the molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity of infectious agents, as well as the cellular and molecular bases of immune responses mediating either protection against infections and cancers, or detrimental inflammation and tissue damage.
Immunity: Research activity addresses key issues of innate and adaptive immune responses, including long-term protective memory mediated by CD8 T cells, and molecular mechanisms underlying immuno-mediated pathology. Heterogeneity of CD8 T cell memory response is investigated at molecular level, with implications for innovative vaccination strategies.
Infection: Proteins from pathogenic bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp. and Escherichia coli) or protozoa (Leishmania infantum) are investigated in terms of structure-function relationships to develop innovative antibiotic and anti-parasitic therapies. Proteins from pathogens, selected as potential or validated drug targets, are investigated with the aim to identify compounds able to interfere with their activity. These include: proteins involved in energy metabolism; antioxidant defence; ribosome biogenesis; or vitamin B6 metabolism. In addition, yeast proteins able to synthesize novel antibiotics (cytochromes P450) are engineered to obtain novel antibiotics and increased yields.
Structure-function relationships of plant proteins involved in protection against bacterial and fungal attacks are studied to develop biotechnology-based strategies aimed at reducing pathogens-determined losses.
The biology of Interferon system in virus replication, cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis is studied in established cell lines. Moreover, the effects of Interferon in the tumorigenesis induced by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix is investigated. The role of inflammatory microenvironment in the HPV-induced carcinogenesis is addressed, with a focus on the involvement of the immune molecules and their delivery through microvesicles.