|The ancient battle between plants and pathogens: plant cell wall resilience and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) drive plant immunity||Plant Cell Walls - Research Milestones and Conceptual Insights||2023|
|Host Cell Wall Damage during Pathogen Infection: Mechanisms of Perception and Role in Plant-Pathogen Interactions.||PLANTS||2021|
|The plasma membrane-associated Ca2+ - binding protein PCaP1 is required for oligogalacturonide and flagellin-induced priming and immunity||PLANT, CELL AND ENVIRONMENT||2021|
|Impaired cuticle functionality and robust resistance to Botrytis cinerea in Arabidopsis thaliana plants with altered Homogalacturonan integrity are dependent on the class III Peroxidase AtPRX71||FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE||2021|
|The Arabidopsis thaliana LYSM-CONTAINING RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE 2 is required for elicitor-induced resistance to pathogens||PLANT, CELL AND ENVIRONMENT||2021|
|The cotton wall-associated kinase GhWAK7A mediates responses to fungal wilt pathogens by complexing with the chitin sensory receptors||PLANT CELL||2020|
|Coordination of five class III peroxidase-encoding genes for early germination events of Arabidopsis thaliana||PLANT SCIENCE||2020|
|Cell wall traits that influence plant development, immunity, and bioconversion||PLANT JOURNAL||2019|
|An EFR-Cf-9 chimera confers enhanced resistance to bacterial pathogens by SOBIR1- and BAK1-dependent recognition of elf18||MOLECULAR PLANT PATHOLOGY||2019|
|Extracellular DAMPs in plants and mammals: immunity, tissue damage and repair||TRENDS IN IMMUNOLOGY||2018|
|Methods of isolation and characterization of oligogalacturonide elicitors||Plant Pattern Recognition Receptors: Methods and Protocols||2017|
|Controlled expression of pectic enzymes in Arabidopsis thaliana enhances biomass conversion without adverse effects on growth||PHYTOCHEMISTRY||2015|
|Combination of Pretreatment with White Rot Fungi and Modification of Primary and Secondary Cell Walls Improves Saccharification||BIOENERGY RESEARCH||2015|
|Plant immunity triggered by engineered in vivo release of oligogalacturonides, damage-associated molecular patterns.||PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA||2015|
|Editorial for Phytochemistry issue 'In memory of G. Paul Bolwell: Plant cell wall dynamics'||PHYTOCHEMISTRY||2015|
|The Arabidopsis thaliana Class III Peroxidase AtPRX71 Negatively Regulates Growth under Physiological Conditions and in Response to Cell Wall Damage||PLANT PHYSIOLOGY||2015|
1. Regulation of elicitor-induced defense responses in plants. Plants have evolved the ability to detect invading microbes by perceiving elicitor, called Pathogen- and Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPs and DAMPs), that trigger PAMP-Triggered Immunity (PTI). Examples of PAMPs and DAMPs are chitin, the major structural component of fungal cell walls, and oligogalacturonides (OGs), pectin fragments released from the plant cell wall by fungal polygalacturonases (PGs), respectively. We have previously characterized the main components of the signaling pathways linking perception of OGs to activation of downstream responses. Moreover, we have investigated the role of LysM-containing receptor-like kinases in modulating defense responses, and demonstrated that chimeric PAMP receptors can be engineered to obtain plants more resistant to infections. Activation of PTI is costly and, in the absence of pathogen pressure, might reduce fitness. For instance, accumulation of high levels of OGs in Arabidopsis plants expressing a fusion between a fungal PG and a PG-inhibiting protein leads to growth reduction. On the other hand, plants treated with elicitors acquire a “primed” status, and respond more efficiently to subsequent infections. Current research aims to characterize the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon and the trade-off between defense and growth in plants.
2) Impact and mode of action of cell wall modifications on plant growth and defense. Plants cell walls are the first line of defense against pathogen attack and regulate growth under physiological and stress conditions. Plant cells constantly monitor cell wall integrity to adjust growth and modulate defenses. We have shown that plants expressing a fungal PG constitutively express defense responses and are more resistant to infections, but are severly impaired in growth. These growth defects are partly dependent on apoplastic peroxidases that cause the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Current research focuses on the elucidation of the interactions between ROS and resistance to pathogens upon loss of cell wall integrity, and on the identification of novel elements of the pathways linking cell damage, growth reduction and defenses.
3) Biotechnological approaches to exploit lignocellulosic sugars. Lignocellulosic biomass is a promising source of sustainable biofuels and chemicals, but its use is hampered by its recalcitrance to enzymatic deconstruction. Current research in the lab aims to find biotechnological solutions to improve conversion of biomasses into simple sugars, both modifying the plant cell wall composition and searching for novel sources of degrading enzymes. We are also studying how to use lignocellulosic sugars to grow microalgae in mixotrophy, with the aim of producing biodiesel and nutraceuticals.
© Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma