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tosti elisabettaSenior Scientists
Section BEOM

Tel. +39 081 5833288 - +39 081 5833233
Fax: +39 081 7641355
e-mail elisabetta.tosti(at)szn.it
Skype: eli.tosti54

Downlaod Curriculum Vitae

Research interests

Impact  of  environmental  stress  on  reproductive  processes  of  marine  invertebrates  and anticancer compounds from the mediterranean ascidian Ciona intestinalis.
Reproduction is the complex biological process by which a new organism is generated allowing the conservation of the species. This process is very sensitive to interference of surrounding environment, in fact marine invertebrates  can be influenced by xenobiotics and physic-chemical changes of the seawater. The impact of environmental stress may  interfere with the physiological functions of organisms by inducing reproductive disorders and consequently altering species fitness and survival.
We have investigated the effects of several xenobiotics on some reproductive mechanisms of the marine invertebrate Ciona intestinalis (ascidians) showing that  these compounds  may disrupt the physiological reproductive mechanisms by affecting the plasma membrane electrical properties of the mature oocyte, fertilization and the following larval development. We have shown that exposure to environmental stress represents a significant risk factor for the physiology of reproduction of marine species. In this line we suggest C. intestinalis as valuable model organism for ecotoxicological studies that are of primary importance for marine environment preservation. Tasks include: the evaluation of environmental temperature variations and nanoparticles impact on the physiology of gametes of ascidians and molluscs.
A preliminary study by our group showed that a methanolic extract prepared from a homogenate of the mediterranean ascidian C. intestinalis was able to inhibit the proliferation of cell lines of different origin suggesting the presence of bioactive compound(s) with antitumor activity. Our aim is to isolate and characterize organic molecules present or produced by the same ascidian in order to propose such compounds in pre-clinical studies as potential anticancer drugs.

Journal Papers

Gallo A, Tosti E. Reprotoxicity of the antifoulant chlorothalonil in ascidians: An Ecological Risk Assessment. Plos One. 2015; 10(4): e0123074

Gallo A, Tosti E. Adverse effect of antifouling compounds on the reproductive mechanisms of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Marine Drugs 2013;  11: 3554-3568.

Gallo A, Russo GL, Tosti E. T-type Ca2+ current activity during oocyte growth and maturation in the ascidian Styela plicata. Plos One. 2013;  8(1):54e604.

Gallo A, Silvestre F, Cuomo A, Papoff  F, Tosti E. Impact of metals on the reproductive mechanism of Ciona intestinalis. Mar Ecol. 2011; 32: 222-231.

Tosti E. Dynamics functions of ion currents in early development. Mol Repr Dev. 2010; 77: 856- 867.

Russo GL, Bilotto S, Ciarcia G, Tosti E. Phylogenetic conservation of Cytostatic Factor related genes in the Ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Gene. 2009; 429:104-111.

Silvestre F, Tosti E. Impact of marine drugs on animal reproductive processes. Marine Drugs. 2009; 7: 539-564.

Silvestre F, Cuomo A, Tosti E. Ion current activity and molecules modulating maturation and growth stages of ascidian (Ciona intestinalis) oocytes. Mol Repr Dev. 2009;  76: 1084-1093.

Russo GL, Ciarcia G, Presidente E, Siciliano AR, Tosti E. Cytotoxic and Apoptogenic Activity of a Methanolic Extract from the Marine Invertebrate Ciona intestinalis on Malignant Cell Lines. Med Chem. 2008; 4(2): 106-109.

El Moutassin S, Bilotto S, Russo GL, Tosti E,  Menezo Y. APEX/Ref-1 (apurinic/apyrimidic endonuclease DNA-repair gene) expression in human and ascidian (Ciona intestinalis) gametes and embryos. Mol Hum Repr. 2007; 14: 1-8.

Tosti E. Calcium ion currents mediating oocyte maturation events. Repr  Biol  Endocr. 2006; 4: 26.


membrana plasmatica

Plasma membrane marks the border between the internal and external compartment of a cell and is the site where are located ligands and receptors responsible for cell to cell interaction. It has have been widely demonstrated that ion channels on the plasma membrane of oocytes and sperm play a role in the process of reproduction from gametogenesis to embryo development.

Styela plicata

Immature oocyte stages, T-type Ca2+ current activity and mitochondria distribution during oocyte growth and maturation in the ascidian Styela plicata.

Lucifer yellow

Accessory cells participate to the maintenance of the meiotic arrest by transferring small molecules to the oocyte through gap junctions. Silvestre et al., (in this issue) demonstrate a lack of junctional permeability between the oocyte and the follicle cells in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis oocytes using the small fluorescent dye Lucifer yellow (pseudocolor ).

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