My research is relevant to defining the ecological roles of unique secondary metabolites produced by marine phytoplankton which function as chemical defences and which mediate biotic interactions. Currently our laboratory is studying the effects of polyunsaturated aldehydes and other oxylipins produced by several diatom species on copepod consumer fitness. Diatoms are rich sources of -3 fatty acids that crustaceans generally require as essential nutrients for normal growth. However some fatty acids have been shown to be precursors for the production of compounds that interfere with copepod egg maturation. When diatoms become damaged due to feeding, there is a rapid onset of oxylipin production seconds after cell disruption, similar to the wound reaction of higher plants. Currently one of our major projects is to define the mechanism of cell defence by diatoms initiated by lipases that act immediately after cell damage.
Ten relevant publications:
Fontana A., d’Ippolito G., Cutignano A., Romano G., Lamari N., Massa Gallucci A., Cimino G., Miralto A. & Ianora A. 2007. LOX-induced peroxidation mechanism responsible for the detrimental effect of marine diatoms on zooplankton grazers ChemBioChem 8: 1810-1818.
Vardi, A., Formiggini F., Casotti R., de Martino A., Ribalet F., Miralto A. & Bowler C. 2006. A stress surveillance system based on perception of reactive aldehydes in marine diatoms. PLoS Biology 4: e60.
Casotti, R., Mazza S., Brunet C., Vantrepotte V., Ianora A. & Miralto A. 2005. Growth inhibition and toxicity of the algal aldehyde 2-trans-2-cis decadienal Thalassiosira weissflogii (Bacillariophyceae) J. Phycol. 41: 7-20.
d'Ippolito G., Tucci S., Cutignano A., Romano G., Cimino G., Miralto A. & Fontana A. 2004. The role of complex lipids in the synthesis of bioactive aldehydes of the marine diatom Skeletonema costatum. BBA 1686: 100 107.
Ianora, A., Miralto A., Poulet S.A., Carotenuto Y., Buttino I., Romano G., Casotti R., Pohnert G., Wichard T., Colucci D’Amato L., Terrazzano G. & Smetacek V. 2004. Aldehyde suppression of copepod recruitment in blooms of a ubiquitous planktonic diatom. Nature 429: 403-407.
Ianora, A., Poulet S.A. & Miralto A. 2003. The effects of diatoms on copepod reproduction: A review. Phycologia 42: 351-363.
Miralto, A., Guglielmo L., Zagami G., Buttino I., Poulet S.A., Granata A. & Ianora A. 2003. Inhibition of population growth in the copepods Acartia clausi and Calanus helgolandicus during diatom blooms. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 254: 253-268.
Miralto A., Barone G., Romano G., Poulet S.A., Ianora A., Russo L., Buttino I., Mazzella G., Laabir M., Cabrini M. & Giacobbbe M.G. 1999. The insidious effect of diatoms on copepod reproduction. Nature 402: 173-176.
Ban S., Burns C., Castel J., Christou E., Escribano R. Fonda Umani S., Gasparini S., Guerrero Ruiz F., Hoffmeyer H., Ianora A., Kang H., Laabir M., Lacoste A., Miralto A., Poulet S., Ning X., Rodriguez V., Runge J., Shi J., Starr M., Uye S. & Wang Y. 1997. The paradox of diatom-copepod interactions. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 157: 287-293.
Poulet S.A., Ianora A., Miralto A. & Meijer L. 1994. Do diatoms arrest egg development in copepods? Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 111: 79-86.