Direzione e uffici C.I.B.


Prof. Graziano Pesole

Dipartimento di Bioscienze, Biotecnologie e Biofarmaceutica
Università degli Studi di Bari
Email: graziano.pesole@uniba.it


Prof.ssa Monica Borgatti

Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biotecnologie
Università degli studi di Ferrara
Email: monica.borgatti@unife.it


Dott.ssa Elisabetta Lambertini

Università degli studi di Ferrara
Tel: 0532/974451
E-mail: lmblbt@unife.it


Dott.ssa Vanessa Florit

BIC Incubatori
via Flavia 23/1 - 34148 Trieste
Tel: 040/8992242
E-mail: cib@Lncib.it
Posta certificata C.I.B.: cib@poste-certificate.it


Ballario Paola Stampa

Cognome e Nome
Ballario Paola
Senior Researcher (RU)
Mat. Phys and Nat. Sciences
Dipartimento Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin
Settore Scientifico Disciplinare BIO 11
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Cognome e Nome
Pedone Francesco
Qualifica Associated professor (PA)
Dipartimento Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin
Ente di appartenenza University
Cognome e Nome
Filetici Patrizia
Qualifica Researcher CNR
Dipartimento IBMP/Genetics and Molecular Biology
Ente di appartenenza CNR


Cognome e Nome
Proietto Marco
PhD student in Genetics and Molecular Biology
Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin
Ente di appartenenza
Cognome e Nome Fortunati Francesco
Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin
Ente di appartenenza University
Cognome e Nome Monte Sara
Qualifica Student
Dipartimento Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin
Ente di appartenenza University
Cognome e Nome Canzonetta Claudia
Qualifica PostDoc fellowship
Dipartimento Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin
Ente di appartenenza University
Cognome e Nome Patramani Zoi
Qualifica Student
Dipartimento Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin
Ente di appartenenza University


In the past few years two main projects have been developed in our laboratory: characterization of eukaryotic sensor domains and epigenetic control of structural elements involved in DNA replication.

The first project is focused on the perception and transduction of blue light in fungal model systems such as Neurospora crassa and Tuber spp. We identified in T. melanosporum by genomic sequencing different classes of photoreceptors as: phototropins (White Collar complex: WC-1, WC-2), opsins and phytochrome. As demonstrated by light induced growth assays, tuber photoreceptors respond only to blue light, therefore we focused on WC-1 protein which is a photoreceptor specific for this wavelength. Comparison among two Tuber spp and Neurospora crassa WC-1 (one of the most characterized photoreceptor) share more than 60% of identity. The main object of  this study has become the characterization of the peculiar properties of LOV (Light oxygen voltage) the sensorial domain of photoreceptors. For each organism we aim to understand the presence of photoreceptor molecules, their function, and their capability to discriminate different energetic levels.

Acetylation of histone proteins by histone acetyltransferases (HATs) regulates the transcription state of the genome and it is one of the best-studied modification event. We are currently studying in N. crassa the light dependent regulation exerted by HAT NGF-1, the homologous of S. cerevisiae Gcn5p. The WC complex (WCC), constituted by WC-1 and WC-2, is the primary complex involved in the mechanism of light induced gene transcription activation. In addition we have identified a transcriptional coactivator  that upon a light pulse causes a transient acetylation of histone H3 K14 and we have demonstrated that this modification is dependent on a HAT of the GNAT family. Yeast Gcn5p is one of the best characterized histone acetyltransferase which in addition to the catalitic domain, contains an effector known as bromodomain able to recognize the K16 residue of H4 amino terminal tail. In Neurospora loss of NGF-1 results in a phenotype  convergent with that of the wc mutants (Grimaldi et al. 2005, Brenna et al. in press).

In the second project experiments performed in budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae revealed a genetic interaction between Gcn5p and Cse4p, yeast homologous of centromere histone H3 variant CENP-A. Cse4p marks the centromere as the site onto which a multi-protein organelle named kinetochore (KT) assembles. KTs attach chromosomes to the microtubule (MT) tips of the mitotic spindle, control chromosome segregation and synchronize DNA transmission with other cell cycle events occurring in parallel, maximizing the fidelity with which DNA transfers from generation to generation. Anomalous KT activities result in chromosome missegregation and aneuploidy (cells with abnormal chromosome numbers). Aneuploidy gives rise to offspring with mental and physical disabilities (e.g. Down, Turner syndromes), male infertility (diploid sperm), cancer, and even death (miscarriage). As all currently known tumors are aneuploid, it has become a hallmark for cancer.

These two research lines are both under the control of the acetylation mechanism. In the first model the acetylation is involved the life span of proteins implicated in the transduction systems, while the second project concerns the controls of the cell cycle.

Recently we have started a third project about the properties of LOV domain from Tuber spp. and his future applications in Optogenetics technologies.


  • Recombinant DNA technologies
  • Molecular genetics (forward and reverse) of fungi. Transformation techniques (electroporation, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, spheroplastisation)
  • Confocal and Fluorescent Microscope
  • Photobiology
  • Immunological techniques (preparation of recombinant antigens, purification of the antibodies, immunoprecipitation, Western blot)
  • Bioinformatics
  • Electrophoretic techniques on polyacrilammide (in denaturing and non denaturing conditions), on Agarose (with constant or pulsed electric field) for biological macromolecules separation
  • DNA-protein and protein–protein interaction detection in vivo and in vitro


Struttura ove la strumentazione è allocata
Responsabile della strumentazione
Confocal Microscope
Dept. Bio. and Biotechnology C. Darwin
Dept. Bio. and Biotechnology C. Darwin
Mr. G.Ricci
Dept. Bio. and Biotechnology C. Darwin
Growth rooms
Dept. Bio. and Biotechnology C. Darwin


1.Epigenetic and Posttranslational Modifications in Light Signal Transduction and the Circadian Clock in Neurospora crassa. Marco Proietto, Michele Maria Bianchi, Paola Ballario, Andrea Brenna. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Jul 7;16(7):15347-83. doi:10.3390/ijms160715347

2. Integrative gene transfer in the truffle Tuber borchii by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation.
Andrea Brenna, Barbara Montanini, Eleonora Muggiano, Marco Proietto, Patrizia Filetici, Simone Ottonello, Paola Ballario. AMB Express. 2014 May 29;4:43. doi: 10.1186/s13568-014-0043-x. eCollection 2014 

3. Physical association of the WC-1 photoreceptor and the histone acetyltransferase NGF-1 is required for blue light signal transduction in Neurospora crassa. Andrea Brenna, Benedetto Grimaldi, Patrizia Filetici and Paola Ballario. Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Oct;23(19):3863-72.

4. Chemogenomic profiling of the cellular effects associated with histone H3 acetylation impairment by a quinoline-derived compound. Ruotolo R, Tosi F, Vernarecci S, Ballario P, Mai A, Filetici P, Ottonello S.Genomics. 2010 Nov;96(5):272-80. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

5. Périgord black truffle genome uncovers evolutionary origins and mechanisms of symbiosis.Martin F, Kohler A, Murat C, Balestrini R, Coutinho PM, Jaillon O, Montanini B, Morin E, Noel B, Percudani R, Porcel B, Rubini A, Amicucci A, Amselem J, Anthouard V, Arcioni S, Artiguenave F, Aury JM, Ballario P, Bolchi A, Brenna A, Brun A, Buée M, Cantarel B, Chevalier G, Couloux A, Da Silva C, Denoeud F, Duplessis S, Ghignone S, Hilselberger B, Iotti M, Marçais B, Mello A, Miranda M, Pacioni G, Quesneville H, Riccioni C, Ruotolo R, Splivallo R, Stocchi V, Tisserant E, Viscomi AR, Zambonelli A, Zampieri E, Henrissat B, Lebrun MH, Paolocci F, Bonfante P, Ottonello S, Wincker P. Nature. 2010 Apr 15;464(7291):1033-8. Epub 2010 Mar 28.

6. A novel histone acetyltransferase inhibitor modulating Gcn5 network: cyclopentylidene-[4-(4'-chlorophenyl)thiazol-2-yl)hydrazone. Chimenti F, Bizzarri B, Maccioni E, Secci D, Bolasco A, Chimenti P, Fioravanti R, Granese A, Carradori S, Tosi F, Ballario P, Vernarecci S, Filetici P. J Med Chem. 2009 Jan 22;52(2):530-6.

7. Gcn5p plays an important role in centromere kinetochore function in budding yeast. Vernarecci S, Ornaghi P, Bâgu A, Cundari E, Ballario P, Filetici P. Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;28(3):988-96. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

8. The Neurospora crassa White Collar-1 dependent blue light response requires acetylation of histone H3 lysine 14 by NGF-1. Grimaldi B, Coiro P, Filetici P, Berge E, Dobosy JR, Freitag M, Selker EU, Ballario P. Mol Biol Cell. 2006 Oct;17(10):4576-83. Epub 2006 Aug 16.

9. Grimaldi B, de Raaf MA, Filetici P, Ottonello S, Ballario P. Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer and enhanced green fluorescent protein visualization in the mycorrhizal ascomycete Tuber borchii: a first step towards truffle genetics. Curr Genet. 2005 48: 69-74.

10. Ornaghi P, Rotili D, Sbardella G, Mai A, Filetici P. A novel Gcn5p inhibitor represses cell growth, gene transcription and histone acetylation in budding yeast. Biochem Pharmacol. 2005 70: 911-917.

11. Krol S, Diaspro A, Magrassi R, Ballario P, Grimaldi B, Filetici P, Ornaghi P, Ramoino P, Gliozzi A Nanocapsules: coating for living cells. IEEE Trans Nanobioscience. 2004 31: 32-8.

12. Ambra R, Grimaldi B, Zamboni S, Filetici P, Macino G, Ballario P. Photomorphogenesis in the hypogeous fungus Tuber borchii: isolation and characterization of Tbwc-1, the homologue of the blue-light photoreceptor of Neurospora crassa. Fungal Genet Biol. 2004 41: 688-697.

13. Pedone F, Mazzei F, Santoni D. Sequence-dependent DNA torsional rigidity: a tetranucleotide code. Biophys Chem. 2004 112:77-88.

14. Filetici P,Ornaghi P, Ballario P. The bromodomain: a chromatin browser? Front Biosci. 2001 1:D866-8676

15. Pedone F, Mazzei F, Matzeu M, Barone F. Torsional constant of 27-mer DNA oligomers of different sequences. Biophys Chem. 2001 94: 175-184

16. Owen DJ, Ornaghi P, Yang JC, Lowe N, Evans PR, Ballario P, Neuhaus D, Filetici P, Travers AA. The structural basis for the recognition of acetylated histone H4 by the bromodomain of histone acetyltransferase gcn5p. EMBO J. 2000 19: 6141-6149


Componente U.O. Dottorato di Ricerca Coordinatore Sede
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Dept. Bio. and Biotechnology C. Darwin
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Dept. Bio. and Biotechnology C. Darwin


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