IBBE > ATTVITA > RESEARCH > Biogenesis of Membranes for Energy Transduction

Biogenesis of Membranes for Energy Transduction

CNR Personell: Luigi Ruggero Ceci, Clara Musicco, Giuseppe Petrosillo, Bruno Gattulli

This research line includes activities based on different membrane systems.
Particular attention is given to the study of mitochondrial biogenesis and its regulation under physiopathological conditions. Indeed, mitochondria, organelles equipped with membranes for energy transduction, have a pivotal role in the cell response to various kind of stress. The following topics are studied in detail: i) molecules of the mitochondrial membrane, such as cardiolipin, ii) aspects of mitochondrial bioenergetics under physiopathological and metabolic conditions; iii) mitochondrial DNA and nuclear factors that regulate its expression; iv) mitochondrial proteome.
The study of membranes for energy transduction has also been extended to other systems, such as the chloroplasts membranes of spinach, as the seat of proteins involved in light capture (light harvesting complex), and photosynthetic bacteria (Rhodobacter sphaeroides) for their involvement in environmental bioremediation.
The interest in bacteria and the possibility to exploit them as a source of enzymes of industrial interest, gave the start to new studies based on metagenomic approaches for the identification of enzymes active in extreme and harsh conditions.

Research topics
Studies on proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and turnover, mitochondrial genetic system and factors that regulate its expression under physiological conditions, oxidative stress, tumorigenesis, nutritional and pharmacological treatments in model organisms and/or in humans.
Studies on qualitative and quantitative alterations of mitochondrial DNA and their consequences in aging and in diseases such as cancer and mitochondrial optic neuropathies.
Studies on the role of ROS and phospholipids, with particular attention to cardiolipin, in mitochondrial functionality and permeability, both in vitro and under different physiopathological conditions, including aging, diabetes, cardiac ischemic/reperfusion conditions, and antioxidant therapies.
Identification of allergens in food plants and their production as recombinant molecules.
Bio-remediation of heavy metals by chemiotrophic (Sphingobium) and phototrophic (Rhodobacter) bacteria.
Characterization of enzymes identified in marine microbiota.

Cellular systems and model organisms
Human cell lines;
Drosophila melanogaster;
Sea urchin;
Rhodobacter sphaeroides;
Spingobium sp. ba1;
Environmental microbiota (salterns of Margherita di Savoia).

Development of knowledge on the mechanisms of mitochondrial gene expression and signaling pathways that regulate its biogenesis and turnover. Development of knowledge about the mechanism of action of antioxidant molecules on the oxidative damage of mitochondrial DNA and proteins, both in animal models and human tissues. Effects of nutritional and pharmacological treatments on mitochondrial biogenesis and turnover, as well as on bioenergetics and mitochondrial permeability transition (MPTP) in normal and physiopathological conditions.
Genomic and transcriptomic characterization of the response of R. sphaeroides and Sphingobium sp. to environmental changes, with particular reference to their ability to adapt to heavy metals contamination.
Identification and characterization of enzymes of biotechnological interest from bacteria of marine origins.


Proteine mitocondriali
2D electrophoresis of mitochondrial proteins from adult rats. Circled spots correspond to proteins whose expression differs with age or after treatment with acetyl-carnitine (not shown).



Selection of mutants of Rhodobacter sensitive to Co ions, by screening an insertional library obtained using the Tn5 transposon.



Mountains of salt extracted from the Salterns of Margherita di Savoia.

Negative selection of a Rhodobacter sphaeroides Tn5 insertional library on 5 mM Co2+ plates


Via Giovanni Amendola, 122/O
70126 Bari (BA) Italy

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