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ENVIRONMENT AND CHEMICAL ECOLOGY


Activities

Study of the role of natural products as mediators of biological processes that influence the abundance and distribution of species in Nature and the function of ecosystems.

 

Expertise

Structural and functional studies of molecules of ecological and eco-toxicological interest. Study of purified and chemically characterized compounds, which are then submitted to biological tests in order to understand their role as mediators in processes of development, growth, nutrition, defense and reproduction and evaluate their environmental impact.

 

Coordinator 2017

Ernesto Mollo

Components

NEW LEADS FOR THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY


Activities

Identification from marine and vegetable sources of “hits” of pharmacological interest for the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industry. Design and synthesis of new leads inspired by natural compounds, and identification of new classes of bioactive molecules. Rational design and in silico screening of natural products. Development of pharmacological chaperones for the treatment of genetic disorders. Characterization of anti-tumor activity in vitro. In vitro and in vivo pharmacological studies on plant cannabinoids.

 

Expertise

Extraction and isolation of secondary metabolites. Structure characterization by means of advance spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques. Study of the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. Purification and identification of peptides and proteins. Organic synthesis of natural products. Cell and molecular biology. Tests of citotoxic activity. Thermal shift assays. Measurement of intracellular calcium by means of fluorescent probes. Ab initio calculations. Molecular docking.

 

Coordinator 2017

Adele Cutignano

Components

POLYFUNCTIONAL COMPOUNDS FOR THE AGRI-FOOD SECTOR


Activities

Identification of nutraceuticals in complex natural matrices and their use in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. Evaluation of the anti-oxidant activity of agro-foods (both fresh and processed) and design of new products with improved nutritional features. Use of polyfunctional platforms for the enhanced delivery of micronutrients. Stabilization of fruit-based products through the use of functional natural compounds. Realization of new functional drinks to be used in the Hotellerie-Restaurant-Catering sector.

 

Expertise

Chemical characterization and study of polyfunctional molecules in agro-food products (both fresh and processed) and alimentary matrices, such as juices, drinks, ice-creams, etc. Assats for the evaluation of biological (anti-oxidant, anti-microbic, anti-tumor, acetylcholine esterase inhibitory) activities. Measure of the content in products of bioactive compounds (carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamins). Analysis of pesticides in food. Control of oxidation processes in food through the addition of natural anti-oxidants and stabilizers. Use of LC-MS, GC-MS, NMR, HPLC, IR, UV, polarimetry, circular dicroism.

 

Coordinator 2017

Giuseppina Tommonaro

Components

NATURAL-LIKE COMPOUNDS FOR THE INDUSTRY


Activities

Design, synthesis and characterization of polyhydroxylated phenols as: a) sustainable agro-drugs; b) reversible electron active receptors based on biphenyl scaffolds; c) antitumor compounds; d) inhibitors of tyrosinases/laccases; e) anti-oxidants; f) GABAa receptor ligands; g) anti-misfolding compounds; h) mycotoxin inhibitors. Development of “green” methodologies for organic synthesis of such compounds. Preparation of complexes with cyclodextrins.

 

Expertise

Design and synthesis of bioactive polyhydroxylated phenols with applications in the agro-food, clinical, cosmetic and phytotherapy sectors. Preparation of natural and natural-like biphenols. Oxidative coupling using sustainable strategies. Chracterization of phenols by NMR spectroscopy. Preparation of inclusion complexes with cyclodextrins.

 

Coordinator 2017

Davide Gaetano Fabbri

Components

Publications of the group components in the years 2016-2017

  1. De Petrocellis L, Arroyo FJ, Orlando P, Schiano Moriello A, Vitale RM, Amodeo P, Sánchez A, Roncero C, Bianchini G, Martín MA, López-Alvarado P, Menéndez JC. Tetrahydroisoquinoline-Derived Urea and 2,5-Diketopiperazine Derivatives as Selective Antagonists of the Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin 8 (TRPM8) Channel Receptor and Antiprostate Cancer Agents. J. Med. Chem. 2016, 59, 5661-83. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.5b01448.

  2. Ciavatta ML, Devi P, Carbone M, Mathieu V, Kiss R, Casapullo A, Gavagnin M. Kahalalide F analogues from the mucous secretion of Indian sacoglossan mollusc Elysia ornata. Tetrahedron 2016, 72, 625-631. DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2015.12.003

  3. Maria Pia Fuggetta, Antonella De Mico, Andrea Cottarelli, Franco Morelli, Manuela Zonfrillo, Fausta Ulgheri, Paola Peluso, Alberto Mannu, Francesco Deligia, Mauro Marchetti, Giovanni Roviello Atilio Reyes Romero, Alexander Dömling and Pietro Spanu. Synthesis and Enantiomeric Separation of a Novel Spiroketal Derivative: A Potent Human Telomerase Inhibitor with High in Vitro Anticancer Activity. J. Med. Chem. 2016, 59, 9140−9149. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b01046.

  4. Pisano, M.; Palomba, A.; Tanca, A.; Pagnozzi, D.; Uzzau, S.; Addis, M.F.; Dettori, M.A.; Fabbri, D.; Palmieri, G. and Rozzo, C. Protein expression changes induced in a malignant melanoma cell line by the curcumin analogue compound D6. BMC Cancer, 2016 16:317. DOI: 10.1186/s12885-016-2362-6.

  5. V. Citro, J. Peña-Garcia, H. den-Haan, H. Perez-Sanchez, R. Del Prete, L. Liguori, C. Cimmaruta, J. Lukas, M.V. Cubellis, G. Andreotti. Identification of an Allosteric Binding Site on Human Lysosomal Alpha-Galactosidase Opens the Way to New Pharmacological Chaperones for Fabry Disease. PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0165463 October 27, 2016

  6. Finore I, Poli A, Di Donato P, Lama L, Trincone A, Fagnano M, Mori M, Nicolaus B, Tramice A. The hemicellulose extract from Cynara cardunculus: a source of value-added biomolecules produced by xylanolytic thermozymes, Green Chemistry, 2016, DOI: 10.1039/C5GC02774H

  7. Abbamondi GR, Tommonaro G, Weyens N, Thijs S, Sillen W, Gkorezis P, Iodice C, de Melo Rangel W, Nicolaus B, Vangronsveld J. Plant growth-promoting effects of rhizospheric and endophytic bacteria associated with different tomato cultivars and new tomato hybrids. Chem. Biol. Technol. Agric., 2016, 3:1. DOI:10.1186/s40538-015-0051-3.

  8. Gloria Rassu, Claudio Curti, Vincenzo Zambrano, Luigi Pinna, Nicoletta Brindani, Giorgio Pelosi, Franca Zanardi. Exploiting the Distal Reactivity of Indolyl Methylenemalononitriles: An Asymmetric Organocatalyzed [4+2] Cycloaddition with Enals Enables the Assembly of Elusive Dihydrocarbazoles. Chem. Eur.J. 2016, 22,12637–12640.DOI: 10.1002/chem.201602793.

  9. Karen L. Cheney, Andrew White, I. Wayan Mudianta, Anne E. Winters, Michelle Quezada, Robert J. Capon, Ernesto Mollo, Mary J. Garson Choose Your Weaponry: Selective Storage of a Single Toxic Compound, Latrunculin A, by Closely Related Nudibranch Molluscs. 2016, PLoS ONE 11(1): e0145134. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145134

  10. G. Nuzzo, A. Cutignano, J. Moles, C. Avila, A. Fontana. ‘Exiguapyrone and exiguaone, new polypropionates from the Mediterranean cephalaspidean mollusc Haminoea exigua’. Tetrahedron Lett., 2016, 57, 71-74. Doi: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2015.11.067


Recent publications of interest to the group components

  1. A. G. Atanasov et. al. Discovery and resupply of pharmacologically active plant-derived natural products: A review, Biotechnology Advances, 2015, 33 (8) 1582-1614.

  2. David J. Newman. Predominately Uncultured Microbes as Sources of Bioactive Agents. Front Microbiol. 2016; 7: 1832. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01832.

  3. Simcha Lev-Yadun (2016) Defensive (anti-herbivory) coloration in land plants. Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-42096-7.

  4. Harvey, A. L.; Edrada-Ebel, R.; Quinn, R. J. The re-emergence of natural products for drug discovery in the genomics era. Nature reviews. Drug discovery, 2015, 14(2): 111.

  5. Netz N.; T. Opatz, Marine indole alkaloids. Mar. Drugs 2015, 13, 4814.


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