Daniela Pontiggia


Titolo Pubblicato in Anno
Oligogalacturonide Application Increases Resistance to Fusarium Head Blight in Durum Wheat JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY 2024
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
Berberine bridge enzyme–like oxidases of cellodextrins and mixed-linked β-glucans control seed coat formation PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 2023
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
Efficient utilization of monosaccharides from agri-food byproducts supports Chlorella vulgaris biomass production under mixotrophic conditions ALGAL RESEARCH 2023
Improved pathogen resistance through on command release of pectin-derived Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns Abstract book Plant Cell Wall Meeting 2023 2023
Oligogalacturonide oxidases (OGOXs) play a role in plant immunity and development XVI edition of the Congress of the Italian Federation of Life Sciences (FISV) 2022
Olive mill waste water valorization: bioactive molecules-enriched fractions recovered by tangential-flow membrane filtration (TFMF) to elicit plant defence responses XVI edition of the Congress of the Italian Federation of Life Sciences (FISV) 2022
Characterization of two 1,3-β-glucan-modifying enzymes from Penicillium sumatraense reveals new insights into 1,3-β-glucan metabolism of fungal saprotrophs BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIOFUELS AND BIOPRODUCTS 2022
New insight into the biochemical features of AtPME17, a functional Arabidopsis PME affecting plant resistance to pathogens, regulated by its pro-region Book of absracts Plant Biology Europe 2021 2021
Glycomic and phytochemical profile of olive oil vegetative waters after membrane-based filtration to recover bioactive compounds Book of absracts Plant Biology Europe 2021 2021
A novel Penicillium sumatraense isolate reveals an arsenal of degrading enzymes exploitable in algal bio-refinery processes BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIOFUELS 2021
Improved resistance to pathogens through the induced release of damage-associated molecular patterns 31st international conference on arabidopsis research abstract book 2021
Homeostasis of cell wall damps and role in the growth-defense trade-off The 7th International Conference On Plant Cell Wall Biology (program and Abstract) 2021
Oligogalacturonides in immunity and development 31st international conference on arabidopsis research abstract book 2021
AtPME17 is a functional Arabidopsis thaliana pectin methylesterase regulated by its PRO region that triggers PME activity in the resistance to Botrytis cinerea MOLECULAR PLANT PATHOLOGY 2020
Dampening the DAMPs: how plants maintain the homeostasis of cell wall molecular patterns and avoid hyper-immunity FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE 2020
The cotton wall-associated kinase GhWAK7A mediates responses to fungal wilt pathogens by complexing with the chitin sensory receptors PLANT CELL 2020
An Arabidopsis berberine‐bridge enzyme‐like protein specifically oxidizes cellulose oligomers and plays a role in immunity PLANT JOURNAL 2019
Changes in the microsomal proteome of tomato fruit during ripening SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 2019


  • LS1_9
  • LS9_7
  • LS9_8


  • Life-science technologies & biotechnologies
  • Sustainable technologies & development

Interessi di ricerca

The research activity of Dr. Pontiggia mainly focuses on the role of the cell wall in plant development and resistance to pathogens. By using a complementary approach based on genetic, biochemical and molecular biology techniques, she has contributed to understanding how pectin modifications play a role in maintaining a proper balance between plant defense and development. Also the impact of the plant cell wall modifications in the use of plant biomass for industrial applications and biofuel production was an interest of the applicant.
Dr. Pontiggia’s research activity started with the study of molecular mechanisms regulating plant-pathogen interactions, particularly the structure-function relationships of the fungal enzymes polygalacturonase (PG) and its plant-derived protein inhibitors (PGIP). She was involved in the cloning, purification, and biochemical characterization of PG from Colletotrichum lupini and PGIPs from bean, wheat and Arabidopsis. During fungal infection, the action of PGs results in the accumulation of fragments of plant cell wall fragments [i.e., oligogalacturonides (OGs)], which are crucial for the induction of defense responses. The Applicant has provided an
important contribution to the finding that pectin degradation not only activates in vivo defense responses but also regulates growth and hormonal responses.
On the other hand, Dr. Pontiggia’s studies on plant biomass production and modification for biotechnological purposes have elucidated that the controlled expression in planta of the pectic enzymes pectate lyase 1 of Pectobacterium carotovorum improves the saccharification of the cell wall without interfering with the plant development (US patent US8637734B2).
Furthermore, she played a fundamental role in the detection and measurement of OGs in vivo by developing an “ad hoc” carbohydrate analysis methodologies by HPLC-PAD and mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF and LC-MS/MS). She characterized the levels of OGs in transgenic plants overexpressing a chimeric protein capable of producing OGs, (named “OG-machine plants”) and studied how OGs regulate the plant growth/defense trade off. “OG-machine plants” are more resistant to pathogens but also show reduced growth according to the notion that the growth/defense trade-off is conditioned by a hormonal imbalance where salicylic acid (SA) is involved. Indeed, Dr. Pontiggia showed by LC MS/MS analysis that SA levels are higher in these plants. Notably, the gene coding for a chimeric OG-machine protein, under the control of an inducible promoter, may be used to obtain crop plants with normal growth and enhanced resistance to pathogens. (US patent US20180002705A1.)
Dr. Pontiggia also contributed to the discovery that plants produce oxidized OGs, which are inactive in inducing defense responses, suggesting that OG-mediated processes are finely regulated in a redox-dependent manner. By LC-MS/MS analysis, she identified enzymes involved in OGs oxidation and contributed to their biochemical characterization. In addition to oxidation of OGs, it was proved that oxidation of cellodextrins (other cell wall-derived elicitors of defense responses) also contributes to a homeostatic regulation mechanism of plant immunity.
Another scientific interest of Dr. Pontiggia is the quantitative and functional proteomic and phospho-proteomic analysis of plants during growth and defence. She was successful in the identification of membrane proteins induced by OGs  and in determining the profiles of microsomal proteins expressed during tomato fruit ripening, particularly the proteins involved in the synthesis and modification of cell walls.
Throughout all her scientific and academic career, Dr. Pontiggia was enormously fascinated by plants and their ability to be sessile organisms able to cope with external stresses. Her intention is to continue to study mechanisms governing the physiology of plants and their interaction with the environment.
Daniela Pontiggia follows Einstein's rule in her research activity: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Her 'non-linear' educational, professional and academic background has given both creative thinking, helping to ask the right questions, and many skills that aid in looking for answers

Gruppi di ricerca

Laboratori di ricerca

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