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palumbo annaSenior Scientist
Section BEOM

Tel. +39 081 5833293 - +39 081 5833276
Fax: +39 081 7641355
e-mail: anna.palumbo(at)szn.it
Skype: anna.palumbo2

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Research interests

Response of marine organisms to environmental factors
Nowadays an emerging challenge is to investigate how marine organisms are responding and may adapt to the increasing pressure exerted by climatic changes and human activities. The effects of some environmental conditions (acidification, toxic bloom, polluting agents) are examined on various marine organisms at different life phases by laboratory or field experiments. Oxidative and nitrosative parameters are followed, including redox state determination, antioxidant enzyme activities, production of antioxidant molecules, stress gene expression, formation of nitric oxide and its signaling at gene and protein level. The role of nitric oxide as mediator of the response of marine organisms to environmental conditions is also investigated.

Biotechnological potential of marine organisms
The marine environment, characterized by a high biodiversity of species, represents a great potential source of bioactive molecules with potential biotechnological applications. Among these, we focus the attention on ovothiol, a powerful antioxidant which is produced by sea urchin eggs as protective mechanism from the high oxidative burst at fertilization. Ovothiol has been shown to be a promising pharmacological compound, being active on cancer cells and as neuroprotectant. The enzyme that catalyzes ovothiol biosynthesis is encoded in several genomes of marine organisms, including diatoms. Through a multidisciplinary approach, spanning from developmental biology to algal physiology, the biological activities of ovothiol are investigated in sea urchin and diatoms. The ability of diatoms to produce ovothiol is examined in laboratory under different environmental conditions and growth phases to provide an eco-sustainable source necessary for applied research.

Journal Papers

Comes, S., Locascio, A., Silvestre, F., d’Ischia, M., Russo, G.L., Tosti, E., Branno, M. & Palumbo, A. (2007). Regulatory roles of nitric oxide during larval development and metamorphosis in Ciona intestinalis. Dev. Biol. 306: 772-784.

Mattiello, T., Fiore, G., Brown, E.R., d’Ischia, M. & Palumbo, A. (2010). Nitric oxide mediates the glutamate-dependent pathway for neurotransmission in Sepia officinalis chromatophore organs. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 24154-24163.

Andreakis, N., D’Aniello, S., Albalat, R., Patti, F.P., Garcia-Fernàndez, J., Procaccini, G., Sordino, P. & Palumbo A. (2011). Evolution of the Nitric Oxide Synthase family in metazoans. Mol. Biol. Evol. 28: 163-179.

Romano, G., Costantini, M., Buttino, I., Ianora, A. & Palumbo, A. (2011). Nitric Oxide Mediates the Stress Response Induced by Diatom Aldehydes in the Sea Urchin Paracentrotus lividus. PLoS One 6(10):e25980.

Ercolesi, E., Tedeschi, G., Fiore, G., Negri, A., Maffioli, E., d’Ischia, M. & Palumbo, A. (2012). Protein nitration as footprint of oxidative stress-related nitric oxide signaling pathways in developing Ciona intestinalis. Nitric Oxide 27: 18-24.

Russo, G.L., Russo, M., Castellano, I., Napolitano, A. & Palumbo, A. (2014). Ovothiol isolated from sea urchin oocytes induces autophagy in Hep-G2 cell line. Mar. Drugs 12: 4069-4085.

Castellano, I., Ercolesi, E. & Palumbo, A. (2014). Nitric oxide affects ERK signaling through down-regulation of MAP kinase phosphatase levels during larval development of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Plos One 9(7): e102907.

Migliaccio, O., Castellano, I., Romano, G. & Palumbo, A. (2014). Stress response to cadmium and manganese in Paracentrotus lividus developing embryos is mediated by nitric oxide. Aquat. Toxicol. 156: 125-134.

Castellano, I., Ercolesi, E., Romano, G., Ianora, A. & Palumbo, A. (2015). The diatom-derived aldehyde decadienal affects life cycle transition in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis through Nitric oxide/ERK signaling. Open Biol. 5: 140182.

Migliaccio, O., Castellano, I., Cirino, P., Romano, G. & Palumbo, A. (2015). Maternal Exposure to Cadmium and Manganese Impairs Reproduction and Progeny Fitness in the Sea Urchin Paracentrotus lividus. PLoS One 10: e0131815. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131815.



From sea urchin eggs a powerful antioxidant, ovothiol, with great potential for drug development.

nitric oxide

Nitric oxide production (green fluorescence) in sea urchin eggs in response to treatment with diatom toxic aldehydes.

nitric oxide

Detection of nitric oxide (green fluorescence) in the sensory vesicle (sv) and in muscle cells (m) of an ascidian larva.

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