Cognome e Nome Alifano Pietro
Qualifica Professore Ordinario
Dipartimento Scienze e tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali (Di.S.Te.B.A.)
Settore Scientifico Disciplinare BIO/19
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Tel 0832 298856


Cognome e Nome Talà Adelfia
Qualifica Professore Associato
Dipartimento Scienze e tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali
Ente di appartenenza Università del Salento
Cognome e Nome Tredici Salvatore Maurizio
Qualifica Tecnico
Dipartimento Scienze e tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali
Ente di appartenenza Università del Salento


Cognome e Nome Calcagnile Matteo
Qualifica Dottorando
Dipartimento Scienze e tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali
Ente di appartenenza Università del Salento
Cognome e Nome Resta Silvia
Qualifica Borsista
Dipartimento Scienze e tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali
Ente di appartenenza Università del Salento


The Operative Unit address fundamental questions in the field of microbiology using advanced biotechnological techniques. The Unit carries on the following research topics:

• Investigating the interaction between Neisseria meningitidis and the respiratory epithelial barrier in in vitro cell and in vivo (mouse) infection models for development of new therapies and vaccine implementation. The human nasopharynx is the portal of entry of Neisseria meningitidis to spread across the respiratory epithelium and enter the systemic circulation before crossing the blood–brain barrier causing fatal sepsis and meningitis.

• Integrating genome mining, systems biology and metabolic engineering for new drug discovery and strain improvement of Actinomycetes, a group of bacteria producing over 70% of naturally occurring antibiotics and other biologically active substances including anti-tumour agents and immunosuppressants. As wild type strains produce only limited amounts of compounds, genetic manipulation is required before they can be used for production. The knowledge on the biosynthetic pathways and genetic control for several secondary metabolites help strain improvement by DNA recombinant technologies.

• Genetic control, ecological role and mathematical modeling of quorum sensing in luminescent Vibrio spp. Quorum sensing is the mechanism by which bacteria are able to “sense” their environment. Besides bioluminescence, these actions involve the expression of genes that control biofilm development, virulence and several other traits.

• Microbial volatile organic compounds as signaling molecules in microbe-insect-plant interactions. Volatile organic compounds produced by microoganisms (MVOC) living in insects and plants regulate insect-insect and insect-plant ecological interactions. Identifying and characterizing the microorganisms producing MVOCs is important to exploit, in the future, their use as possible alternatives to harmful pesticides, fungicides and bactericides.


  • Culture of microorganisms
  • DNA recombinant technologies
  • Fermentation technologies
  • Cellular infection models
  • Molecular modelling
  • Gene expression analysis
  • Metabolic engineering of bacteria


Denominazione Struttura ove la strumentazione è allocata Responsabile della strumentazione
Bioreattore per aerobi Di.S.Te.B.A. Pietro Alifano
Bioreattori per anaerobi Di.S.Te.B.A. Pietro Alifano
Cabina per anaerobi Di.S.Te.B.A. (Infrastruttura BioForIU) Pietro Alifano
Ultracentrifuga preparativa Di.S.Te.B.A. (Infrastruttura BioForIU) Pietro Alifano
Sistema LC/MS Di.S.Te.B.A. (Infrastruttura BioForIU) Pietro Alifano
Sistema GC/MS Di.S.Te.B.A. (Infrastruttura BioForIU) Pietro Alifano


1. Fondi M., Pinatel E., Talà A., Damiano F., Consolandi C., Mattorre B., Fico D., Testini M., De Benedetto G.E., Siculella L., De Bellis G., Alifano P., Peano, C. Time-resolved transcriptomics and constraint-based modeling identify system-level metabolic features and overexpression targets to increase spiramycin production in Streptomyces ambofaciens. Front. Microbiol. (2017) 8, 835.

2. Delle Side DD, Nassisi V, Pennetta C, Alifano P, Di Salvo M, Talà A, Chechkin A, Seno F, Trovato A. Bacterial bioluminescence onset and quenching: a dynamical model for a quorum sensing-mediated property. R. Soc. Open Sci. (2017) 4:171586.

3. Pizzolante G., Cordero C., Tredici S.M., Vergara D., Pontieri P., Del Giudice L., Capuzzo A., Rubiolo P., Kanchiswamy C.N., Zebelo S.A., Bicchi C., Maffei M.E., Alifano P. Cultivable gut bacteria provide a pathway for adaptation of Chrysolina herbacea to Mentha aquatica volatiles. BMC Plant Biol. (2017) 17:30.

4. D’Argenio V., Petrillo M., Pasanisi D., Pagliarulo C., Colicchio R., Talà A., de Biase M.S., Zanfardino M., Scolamiero E., Pagliuca C., Gaballo A., Cicatiello A.G., Cantiello P., Postiglione I., Naso B., Boccia A., Durante M., Cozzuto L., Salvatore P., Paolella G., Salvatore F., Alifano, P. The complete 12 Mb genome and transcriptome of Nonomuraea gerenzanensis with new insights into its duplicated “magic” RNA polymerase. Sci. Rep. (2016) 6, 18.

5. Peano C., Damiano F., Forcato M., Pietrelli A., Palumbo C., Corti G., Siculella L., Fuligni F., Malagoli Tagliazucchi G., De Benedetto G.E., Bicciato S., De Bellis G., Alifano P. Comparative genomics revealed key molecular targets to rapidly convert a reference rifamycin-producing bacterial strain into an overproducer by genetic engineering. (2014) Metab. Eng. 26, 1-16.

6. Talà A., Cogli L., De Stefano M., Cammarota M., Spinosa M.R., Bucci C., Alifano P. Serogroup-specific interaction of Neisseria meningitidis capsular polysaccharide with host cell microtubules and effects on tubulin polymerization. Infect. Immun. (2014) 82, 265-274.

7. Peano C., Tala A., Corti G., Pasanisi D., Durante M., Mita G., Bicciato S., De Bellis G., Alifano, P. Comparative genomics and transcriptional profiles of Saccharopolyspora erythraea NRRL 2338 and a classically improved erythromycin over-producing strain. Microb. Cell Fact. (2012) 11, 32.

8. Talà A., Monaco C., Nagorska K., Exley R.M., Corbett A., Zychlinsky A., Alifano P., Tang C. Glutamate utilization promotes meningococcal survival in vivo through avoidance of the neutrophil oxidative burst. Mol. Microbiol. (2011) 81, 1330-1342.

9. Talà A., Wang G., Zemanova M., Okamoto S., Ochi K., Alifano, P. Activation of dormant bacterial genes by Nonomuraea sp. ATCC 39727 "mutant type" RNA polymerase. J. Bacteriol. (2009) 191, 805-814.

10. Talà A., Progida C., De Stefano M., Cogli L., Spinosa M.R., Bucci C., Alifano P. The HrpB-HrpA two-partner secretion system is essential for intracellular survival of Neisseria meningitidis. Cell. Microbiol. (2008) 10, 2461-2482.


Componente U.O. Dottorato di Ricerca Coordinatore Sede
Alifano Pietro Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali Marsigliante Santo Lecce


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