Reference: Luigia Santella



Laboratory equipped to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cell cycle and fertilization of marine organisms. It includes a live cell imaging facility, areas for microinjection, cellular and molecular biology, live-image analysis, in addition to basic laboratory equipments.


Systems for experimentation

Santella Copy of AP 080310 20 Suppl011

02 Microiniezione

The laboratory utilizes two species of starfish (Astropecten aranciacus and Asterina pectinifera) and sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividus) as model systems for scientific research in collaboration with Meda and MaRe units (RiMAR Section, SZN) for sampling and animal keeping facility.

03 Analysis

  • Study of the mechanisms responsible for the generation, propagation, and decay of intracellular calcium signals in eggs of marine animals during meiotic cell cycle and fertilization, aiming to the identification of the role of intracellular calcium reservoire (e.g. endoplasmic reticulum, nucleus, mitochondria, acid vesicles, etc) and ion release/resorption mechanism.
  • Study of the causal relations between the external environment (seawater salinity, pH, temperature, environmental contaminants, etc.) and the morphological and functional changes of oocytes and eggs and their effects on fertilization and early stages of embryonic development
  • Analysis of calcium signaling, cytoskeleton ultrastructure (in collaboration with AMOBIO unit, RiMAR Section), polyspermy, and progression of the division of the zygote.

  • Analysis of the molecular mechanisms that regulate meiotic maturation and activation of the eggs; effects of microinjected proteins blocking specific functions, antibodies and antisense RNA of target genes identified by transcriptome of seastar and sea urchins.



  • 2 Set up (CCD cameras) multichannel (brightfield and fluorescence) for live cell fluorescence imaging
  • 1 Set up (Confocal Spinning Disk) multichannel (brightfield and fluorescence) for live fluorescence imaging
  • Live cell imaging during microinjection UV photoactivation of caged compounds
  • Upright fluorescent microscope for microinjection into cytoplasm and nucleus of starfish oocytes and sea urchin eggs
  • Stereomicroscopes for gametes quality evaluation and their manipulation (enucleation etc)
  • Incubator to keep gametes under controlled temperature

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