Italy

Istituto di Genetica Vegetale is an integral part of the institutes of the Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche . It is officially located in Bari and has four different Divisions, located in Portici, Palermo, Florence and Perugia. IGV started its activities on November 2002. In the framework of the new CNR National Research Network, IGV is the result of the fusion of five former Institutes, operating in the field of Plant Genetics and Breeding, namely Germplasm Institute – Bari; the Institute of Forest Tree Breeding - Florence, Research Institute of Ornamental and Vegetable Plant Breeding -Portici, Research Institute for Citrus Genetics, Palermo; Research Institute for Grass and Fodder Crop Breeding - Perugia. Wikipedia.


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Pupilli F.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Barcaccia G.,University of Padua
Journal of Biotechnology | Year: 2012

Apomixis is desirable in agriculture as a reproductive strategy for cloning plants by seeds. Because embryos derive from the parthenogenic development of apomeiotic egg cells, apomixis excludes fertilization in addition to meiotic segregation and recombination, resulting in offspring that are exact replicas of the parent. Introgression of apomixis from wild relatives to crop species and transformation of sexual genotypes into apomictically reproducing ones are long-held goals of plant breeding. In fact, it is generally accepted that the introduction of apomixis into agronomically important crops will have revolutionary implications for agriculture. This review deals with the current genetic and molecular findings that have been collected from model species to elucidate the mechanisms of apomeiosis, parthenogenesis and apomixis as a whole. Our goal is to critically determine whether biotechnology can combine key genes known to control the expression of the processes miming the main components of apomixis in plants. Two natural apomicts, as the eudicot . Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John's wort) and the monocot . Paspalum spp. (crowngrass), and the sexual model species . Arabidopsis thaliana are ideally suited for such investigations at the genomic and biotechnological levels. Some novel views and original concepts have been faced on this review, including (i) the parallel between Y-chromosome and apomixis-bearing chromosome (. e.g., comparative genomic analyses revealed common features as repression of recombination events, accumulation of transposable elements and degeneration of genes) from the most primitive (. Hypericum-type) to the most advanced (. Paspalum-type) in evolutionary terms, and (ii) the link between apomixis and gene-specific silencing mechanisms (. i.e., likely based on chromatin remodelling factors), with merging lines of evidence regarding the role of auxin in cell fate specification of embryo sac and egg cell development in . Arabidopsis. The production of engineered plants exhibiting apomictic-like phenotypes is critically reviewed and discussed. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Scotti N.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Rybicki E.P.,University of Cape Town
Expert Review of Vaccines | Year: 2013

Virus-like particles (VLPs) have been produced as candidate vaccines in plants virtually since the introduction of biofarming. Even today, VLPs remain the best candidates for safe, immunogenic, efficacious and inexpensive vaccines. Well-characterized human animal viruses such as HBV, HCV, HIV and HPV, rotaviruses, norovirus, foot and mouth disease viruses and even influenza virus proteins have all been successfully investigated for VLP formation. Proteins have been produced in transgenic plants and via transient expression techniques; simple structures, structures depending on more than one protein, naked and enveloped particles have all been made. There have been multiple proofs of concept, more than a few proofs of efficacy, and several products moved into human trials. This review will cover the history of VLP production in plants, and will explore a few examples in detail to illustrate the potential of such a mode of production for human and animal medicine. © 2013 Expert Reviews Ltd.


Clemente A.,CSIC - Experimental Station of El Zaidín | Sonnante G.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Domoney C.,John Innes Center
Current Protein and Peptide Science | Year: 2011

Bowman-Birk inhibitors and their variants (BBI) from legumes, such as soybean, pea, lentil and chickpea, are a class of naturally-occurring protease inhibitors which have potential health-promoting properties within the gastrointestinal tract. BBI can resist both acidic conditions and the action of proteolytic enzymes, and transit through the stomach and small intestine without major degradation, permitting significant amounts to reach the large intestine in active form to exert their reported anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. These potential pharmacological benefits have been linked recently to the intrinsic ability of BBI to inhibit serine proteases, and the data suggest that both trypsin- and chymotrypsin-like proteases involved in carcinogenesis should be considered as potential targets of BBI. However, the therapeutic targets and the action mechanisms of BBI remain unknown. Their elucidation will provide insights into the properties of these plant protease inhibitors as colorectal chemopreventive agents, providing a strong base for the development of legume crops and their products as pro-nutritional, health-promoting food. The deployment of modern genomic tools and genome sequence information are underpinning studies of natural and induced polymorphism in BBI. Genetic markers for BBI variants with improved properties can be exploited ultimately in legume breeding programmes to assist the introgression of such variant genes and the development of superior genotypes for human nutrition. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.


Lioi L.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Galasso I.,CNR Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology
Plant Breeding | Year: 2013

Simple sequence repeat (SSR) or microsatellite markers are a valuable tool for several purposes such as evaluation of genetic diversity, fingerprinting, marker-assisted selection and breeding. In this study, a SSR genomic enriched library was developed in Lathyrus sativus (grass pea) by affinity capture of restriction fragments to biotinylated microsatellite oligonucleotides. About 400 randomly selected clones were sequenced, and SSRs were present in approximately 30% of them. Clones contained 75%, 9% and 16% of simple, interrupted and compound SSRs, respectively. Of the 10 SSRs tested, 7 primer pairs produced clearly distinguishable DNA banding patterns. Successively, SSR primer pairs were successfully tested to reveal polymorphism in a set of four different grass pea germplasm accessions. The transferability of SSR markers was high among three related species of Lathyrus, namely Lathyrus cicera, Lathyrus ochrus and Lathyrus tingitanus, and the legume crop, Pisum sativum. These results indicate that the novel SSR markers are informative and will be useful and convenient for genetic analysis in grass pea and related species. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


De Paola D.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Cattonaro F.,Instituto Of Genomica Applicata Iga | Pignone D.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Sonnante G.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics
BMC Genomics | Year: 2012

Background: Plant microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms of several processes, including the response to biotic and abiotic stress, often contributing to the adaptive response of the plant to adverse conditions. In addition to conserved miRNAs, found in a wide range of plant species a number of novel species-specific miRNAs, displaying lower levels of expression can be found. Due to low abundance, non conserved miRNAs are difficult to identify and isolate using conventional approaches. Conversely, deep-sequencing of small RNA (sRNA) libraries can detect even poorly expressed miRNAs.No miRNAs from globe artichoke have been described to date. We analyzed the miRNAome from artichoke by deep sequencing four sRNA libraries obtained from NaCl stressed and control leaves and roots.Results: Conserved and novel miRNAs were discovered using accepted criteria. The expression level of selected miRNAs was monitored by quantitative real-time PCR. Targets were predicted and validated for their cleavage site. A total of 122 artichoke miRNAs were identified, 98 (25 families) of which were conserved with other plant species, and 24 were novel. Some miRNAs were differentially expressed according to tissue or condition, magnitude of variation after salt stress being more pronounced in roots. Target function was predicted by comparison to Arabidopsis proteins; the 43 targets (23 for novel miRNAs) identified included transcription factors and other genes, most of which involved in the response to various stresses. An unusual cleaved transcript was detected for miR393 target, transport inhibitor response 1.Conclusions: The miRNAome from artichoke, including novel miRNAs, was unveiled, providing useful information on the expression in different organs and conditions. New target genes were identified. We suggest that the generation of secondary short-interfering RNAs from miR393 target can be a general rule in the plant kingdom. © 2012 De Paola et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


De Marchis F.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Bellucci M.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Pompa A.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics
Plant Physiology | Year: 2013

The transport of secretory proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum to the vacuole requires sorting signals as well as specific transport mechanisms. This work is focused on the transport in transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants of a human a-mannosidase, MAN2B1, which is a lysosomal enzyme involved in the turnover of N-linked glycoproteins and can be used in enzyme replacement therapy. Although ubiquitously expressed, α-mannosidases are targeted to lysosomes or vacuoles through different mechanisms according to the organisms in which these proteins are produced. In tobacco cells, MAN2B1 reaches the vacuole even in the absence of mannose-6-phosphate receptors, which are responsible for its transport in animal cells. We report that MAN2B1 is targeted to the vacuole without passing through the Golgi complex. In addition, a vacuolar targeting signal that is recognized in plant cells is located in the MAN2B1 amino-terminal region. Indeed, when this amino-terminal domain is removed, the protein is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum. Moreover, when this domain is added to a plantsecreted protein, the resulting fusion protein is partially redirected to the vacuole. These results strongly suggest the existence in plants of a new type of vacuolar traffic that can be used by leaf cells to transport vacuolar proteins. © 2013 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.


Piergiovanni A.R.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics
Journal of Food Processing and Preservation | Year: 2011

Water uptake of common bean samples belonging to both commercial cultivars and Italian local varieties and representing different market classes was studied. Three hydration groups characterized by slow, intermediate and fast water uptake were identified. Predictive efficacy of Peleg model, commonly used to describe legume soaking, was evaluated by analyzing data relative to samples belonging to the three hydration groups. It was observed that different hydration rate gave rise to significant variation of both Peleg constants within as well as among the groups. Moreover, the Peleg model predicted adequately only the hydration kinetic of common bean samples belonging to the fast hydration group. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Piergiovanni A.R.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry | Year: 2013

Capillary electrophoresis (CE) is a powerful analytical tool that is widely applied to the analysis of biological samples. Proteins, peptides, nonprotein amino acids, phenolic compounds, and ions can be analysed using this electrophoretic methodology. This review summarises some applications of CE to the evaluation and characterisation of plant genetic resources of both Triticum and legume species, as carried out at the Istituto di Genetica Vegetale, National Research Council (IGV-CNR) in Bari (Italy). Different protein fractions as well as nonprotein amino acids were investigated by capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE), the most user-friendly mode of CE application. The described case studies show that CZE can be applied to some institutional activities of gene banks such as the evaluation of genetic diversity within stored collections, the acquisition of new samples, the differentiation of species belonging to the same genus, the identification of misclassified accessions, and the measurement of compounds relevant to nutrition or health. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Low transformation frequencies limit the use of plastid transformation in potato and other crops. Hence, a breakthrough in chloroplast genetic engineering of agronomically important species is a highly desirable goal. We succeeded in achieving potato transformation efficiency up to one shoot every bombardment using a modified regeneration procedure and novel vectors containing potato flanking sequences for transgene integration by homologous recombination in the Large Single Copy region of the plastome. Vector delivery was performed by the biolistic approach. Such efficiency corresponds to 15-18-fold improvement compared to previous results obtained in potato with a progenitor vector of that used in our study, and is comparable to that usually achieved with tobacco. The results obtained represent a significant advancement towards the implementation of the plastid transformation technology in potato breeding and biotechnology.


Piergiovanni A.R.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution | Year: 2013

The increasing consumers' request for new speciality wheat derivatives and the possible widening of marketing opportunities is giving to both landraces and old varieties, new chance of on farm survival providing a low cost way to safeguard these important genetic resources. A farmer's consortium acting in north-western Italy, is attempting the introduction of some old bread wheat landraces in marginal environments of Piedmont and Liguria regions. The reason of this attempt is the local market demand of old bread varieties suitable for the preparation of traditional cakes and biscuits. Three Italian bread wheat landraces, a mixture of durum and bread wheat landraces and three modern varieties were evaluated. The entries were cropped in Val Borbera and Val d'Aveto (Piedmont and Liguria region, respectively) in the same growing season (2009-2010). The high variation of gliadin profile detected within the landraces indicates that all have retained the genetic heterogeneity typical of the old wheat landraces. In consequence of the health-promoting effects of whole grain consumption, eleven nutritional and technological traits of whole flours were investigated. The analysis of collected data revealed appreciable differences among the flours obtained from the landraces and the modern varieties. These differences can be mainly attributed to the intensive breeding carried out on bread wheat in the last century. The results of this study suggest that the old bread wheat landraces could have good chance of survive on farm when their characteristics fulfil the requirements of local communities. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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