Current projects

Glycopeptide antibiotic production

 (Dr. Giorgia L Marcone; Dr. Elisa Binda; Dr. Francesca Berini)

  • classical and genetic strain improvement of glycopeptide producing actinomycetes;
  • identification of resistance determinants in glycopeptide producing actinomycetes;
  • investigation of biosynthetic regulatory pathways;
  • heterologous expression of biosynthetic clusters.

Carboxypeptidases and dipeptidases involved in glycopeptide antibiotic resistance

(Dr. Elisa Binda; Dr. Francesca Berini)

  • heterologous expression and purification of recombinant forms of carboxypeptidase/ dipeptidase VanYn;
  • biochemical and structural characterization of VanYn;
  • searching for novel inhibitors of VanYn carboxypeptidases and dipeptidases to be used as adjuvants in the antibiotic combination therapy

Metagenome-sourced chitinases as potential novel biopesticides

(Dr. Francesca Berini)

  • production in different heterologous hosts (Escherichia coli and Streptomyces spp.) of two chitinases (Chi18H8 and 53D1) identified by functional and/or genetic screening of different soil metagenomic libraries;
  • biological and biochemical characterization of the purified enzymes.

   Microbial colonization of benthic Antarctic environments

(Dr. Giorgia L Marcone; Dr. Francesca Berini)

  • Isolation of actinomycetes from Antarctic microbial communities;
  • Screening of the isolates for the production of secondary metabolites and hydrolytic enzymes.

In collaboration with other Laboratories of the University of Insubria

  •  Conjugation of glycopeptide antibiotics with magnetic nanoparticles (Dr. Giorgia L Marcone).

In collaboration with the Laboratory of Cell Biology (Dr. Ilaria Armenia, Prof. Giovanni Bernardini).

  • biocontrol strategies against insects using chitinases (Dr. Francesca Berini).
  • development of insect larvae as models for the in vivo screening of antibiotic compounds (Dr. Francesca Berini).

In collaboration with the Laboratory of Invertebrate Biology (Dr. Aurora Montali, Prof. Gianluca Tettamanti).

In collaboration with other Laboratories:

  • Biocontrol strategies against fungal phytopathogens using chitinases – in collaboration with Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, Kiryat Shmona Israel (Dr. Francesca Berini).
  • Biocontrol strategies with chitinases against insects (bioassays with Bombyx mori larvae) – in collaboration with Prof. Morena Casartelli, University of Milan, Milan Italy (Dr. Francesca Berini).
  •  Use of SPR (Surface Plasmon Resonance) to study the interaction between glycopeptides and their molecular targets and the role VanYn in the peptidoglycan modification in collaboration with Prof. Maria Josefa Hernaiz Gomez-Degano, Complutense University, Madrid Spain (Dr. Elisa Binda, Dr. Francesca Berini).
  •  Fermentation and production of carotenoids from Salinispora tropica, a marine obligate actinomycetes, focusing on the optimization of the production and isolation of the novel metabolite Sioxanthin in collaboration with Prof. Tomas Branyink and Dr. Zuzana Jezkova, University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague Czech Republic (Dr. Elisa Binda).
  •  Characterization and genetic manipulation of biosynthetic gene clusters recently discovered by genome sequencing of Nonomuraea gerenzanensis in collaboration with Prof. Pietro Alifano and Dr. Adelfia Talà, Università del Salento, Lecce (Dr. Giorgia L Marcone, Dr. Elisa Binda).