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santella luigiaResearch Director 
Research Infrastructures for marine biological resources Department

Tel. +39 081 5833289 - +39 081 5833407 - +39 081 5833416
Fax: +39 081 7641355
e-mail luigia.santella(at)szn.it

Curriculum Vitae

 


Research Interests

Dr. Santella’s research has focused on the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction linked to the physiological changes in oocytes and eggs during meiotic maturation and fertilization, and in early embryos as well. Over the past 20 years, her research has placed special emphasis on the intracellular Ca2+ swings during these processes. Her work with starfish and sea urchin model systems has established that the Ca2+ wave in fertilized eggs can be recapitulated by combined effects of second messengers such as NAADP and InsP3 that play distinct roles in initiating and propagating the sperm-induced Ca2+ wave, while the other Ca2+-linked second messenger cADPr might instead have a modulatory role. She has also demonstrated that certain Ca2+ signals can originate and propagate in specific subcellular domains such as the nucleus and the subplasmalemmal regions. Her more recent work on starfish oocytes and eggs, which are optimally suited for microinjection and imaging analyses, has pioneered the new concept that the patterns of intracellular Ca2+ signaling and the Ca2+ ion channel activities are significantly modulated by the actin cytoskeleton. Dr. Santella has been active in promoting International collaboration and intellectual exchanges, as well as in stimulating education in foreign universities. She has also been involved in the organization of highly successful International symposia. She is regularly invited as a speaker at symposia and congresses in numerous countries in Europe, USA, and Asia. Since 1993, she has been a yearly visitor to the Asamushi Marine Biological Research Center of Japan to perform seasonal work, and has lectured in the EMBO and NSF-sponsored educational programs in Brazil and Uruguay.

Journal Papers

Ruocco N, Costantini M & Santella L (2016). New insights into negative effects of lithium on sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus embryos. Scientific Reports, 6, 32157; doi: 10.1038/srep32157.

Santella L, Limatola N, Chun JT. (2015). Calcium and actin in the saga of awakening oocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun., 460: 104-113

Chun JT, Limatola N, Vasilev F, Santella L. (2014). Early events of fertilization in sea urchin eggs are sensitive to actin-binding organic molecules. Biochem Biophys Res Commun., 450: 1166-1174

Vasilev F, Chun JT, Gragnaniello G, Garante E, Santella L. (2012). Effects of ionomycin on egg activation and early development in starfish. PLoS One,. 7: e39231

Santella L, Chun JT. (2011) Actin, more than just a housekeeping protein at the scene of fertilization. Sci China Life Sci., 54: 733-43

Chun JT, Puppo A, Vasilev F, Gragnaniello G, Garante E, Santella L. (2010). The biphasic increase of PIP2 in the fertilized eggs of starfish: new roles in actin polymerization and Ca2+ signaling. PLoS One,. 5: e14100

Kyozuka K, Chun JT, Puppo A, Gragnaniello G, Garante E, Santella L. (2009) Guanine nucleotides in the meiotic maturation of starfish oocytes: regulation of the actin cytoskeleton and of Ca(2+) signaling. PLoS One., 4:e 6296.

Puppo A, Chun JT, Gragnaniello G, Garante E, Santella L. (2008). Alteration of the cortical actin cytoskeleton deregulates Ca2+ signaling, monospermic fertilization, and sperm entry. PLoS One., 3: e3588

Kyozuka K, Chun JT, Puppo A, Gragnaniello G, Garante E, Santella L. (2008). Actin cytoskeleton modulates calcium signaling during maturation of starfish oocytes. Dev Biol., 320: 426-35

Moccia F, Nusco GA, Lim D, Kyozuka K, Santella L. (2006). NAADP and InsP3 play distinct roles at fertilization in starfish oocytes. Dev Biol., 294: 24-38

Santella L, Lim D, Moccia F. (2004) Calcium and fertilization: the beginning of life. Trends Biochem Sci., 29: 400-8

Websites or online articles

The fertilization process: a new way to look at an old phenomenon

2015 Small World in Motion Competitionn (Video)

Conversazione Noi siamo figli delle stelle (marine)

Byrnes W M. (2013). Walking in the Footsteps of Ernest Everett Just at the Stazione Zoologica in Naples: Celebration of a Friendship


Book chapters

Santella L, Limatola N, Chun JT. (2014). Actin Cytoskeleton and Fertilization in starfish Eggs. In: Sawada H, Inoue N, Iwano M, Eds. Sexual Reproduction in Animals and Plants. pp. 141-153. Springer Open ISBN: 978-4-431-54588-0 978-4-431-54589-7

Santella L, Chun JT (2013). Calcium signaling by cyclic ADP-ribose and NAADP. In: Lennarz WJ, Lane MD, Eds. Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry. pp. 331-337. NEW YORK:Elsevier Inc., ISBN: 978-0-12-443710-4.

Santella L, Chun JT (2013). Intracellular Calcium Waves. In: Lennarz WJ, Lane MD, Eds. Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry. p. 640-648, NEW YORK:Elsevier Inc., ISBN: 978-0-12-443710-4.

Chun JT, Santella L (2007). Calcium and fertilization. In: Krebs J, Michalak M, Eds. Calcium: a matter of life and death. New Comprehensive Biochemistry, vol. 41, pp. 425-439, Amsterdam:Elsevier Science BV, ISBN: 978-0-444-80303-0, ISSN: 0167-7306, doi: 10.1016/S0167-7306(06)41016-4.

Santella L (2004). Calcium signalling: cell cycle. In: Lennarz WJ, Lane MD, Eds. Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry. vol. 1, pp. 245-249, San Diego:Academic press, ISBN: 0124437109.

International Symposium - The dynamically active egg: The legacy of Ernest Everett Just

Photos

F-actin staining in a starfish oocyte microinjected with Alexa Fluor-568 conjugated phalloidin

F-actin staining in a starfish oocyte microinjected with Alexa Fluor-568 conjugated phalloidin.

Visualization of F-actin in the nucleus and cytoplasm of a starfish immature oocyte

Visualization of F-actin in the nucleus and cytoplasm of a starfish immature oocyte.

 
Spikes formation into the perivitelline space of a starfish egg following uncaging of injected InsP3  visualized by labelling PIP2 with the RFP-PH domain of the PLC1

Spikes formation into the perivitelline space of a starfish egg following uncaging of injected InsP3 visualized by labelling PIP2 with the RFP-PH domain of the PLC1.


Gonads containing fully grown immature oocytes dissected from a female of Astropecten aranciacus starfish

Gonads containing fully grown immature oocytes dissected from a female of Astropecten aranciacus starfish.


Gonads containing fully grown oocytes dissected from a female of Asterina pectinifera starfish

Gonads containing fully grown oocytes dissected from a female of Asterina pectinifera starfish.


The Mediterranean species of Astropecten aranciacus (larger size) and the Japanese Asterina pectinifera starfish (smaller size)

The Mediterranean species of Astropecten aranciacus (larger size) and the Japanese Asterina pectinifera starfish (smaller size).


The fertilizing sperm (yellow circle) interaction at the jelly coat on the surface of a starfish egg triggers Ca2+ increases (yellow fluorescence) through the acrosomal filament which is visible at 04:05. Detailed view of the sperm entry site  during fertilization

The fertilizing sperm (yellow circle) interaction at the jelly coat on the surface of a starfish egg triggers Ca2+ increases (yellow fluorescence) through the acrosomal filament which is visible at 04:05. Detailed view of the sperm entry site during fertilization.

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