BC – Biotecnologie Cellulari



Room 2Mb15; phone +39-081-679156 Email piccoli@unina.it ;




Room 2Mb14; phone +39-081-679150 Email mdmonti@unina.it;




Room 2MB16; phone +39-081-679147 Email anarciel@unina.it;



Other Group members:

Dr. Rosa Gaglione, Postdoc

Dr. Eliana Dell'Olmo, PhD student

Dr. Paola Imbimbo, PhD student

Dr. Luigi D'Elia, PhD student

Dr. Angelica Cesaro, PhD student


Antioxidants from natural sources

Antimicrobial peptides

Molecular bases of ApoA-I associated amyloidoses

Antioxidants from natural sources


This project is aimed at analyzing the antioxidant activity of extracts obtained from different natural sources or microorganisms, in order to study their beneficial effects against oxidative stress injury and to characterize their chemical composition. The protective activity of the natural extracts is validated by biochemical strategies on cell-based models in which oxidative stress is induced. In particular, the attention is focused on antioxidants obtained from extremophilic microalgae, different varieties of tomatoes, açai berries, Opuntia extracts and bacterial spores. The general goal is to obtain molecules to be used in food or cosmetic industry.


Selected publications:

  • G. Petruk, G. Donadio, M. Lanzilli, R. Isticato, D.M. Monti, "Alternative use of Bacillus subtilis spores: Protection against environmental oxidative stress in human normal keratinocytes" Scientific Reports (2018), 8, 1745-54.
  • G. Petruk, A. Illiano, R. Del Giudice, A. Raiola, A. Amoresano, M.M. Rigano, R. Piccoli, D.M. Monti, "Malvidin and cyanidin derivatives from açai fruit (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) counteract UV-A-induced oxidative stress in immortalized fibroblasts" Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (2017), 172, 42-51.
  • R. Del Giudice, G. Petruk, A. Raiola, A. Barone, D.M. Monti, M.M. Rigano, "Carotenoids in fresh and processed tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruits protect cells from oxidative stress injury" Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (2017), 97, 1616-23.
  • G. Petruk, A. Raiola, R. Del Giudice, A. Barone, L. Frusciante, M.M. Rigano, , Monti, D.M.
  • "An ascorbic acid-enriched tomato genotype to fight UVA-induced oxidative stress in normal human keratinocytes" Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (2016), 163, 284-89.
  • R. Del Giudice, A. Raiola, G.C. Tenore, L. Frusciante, A. Barone, D.M. Monti, M.M. Rigano, "Antioxidant bioactive compounds in tomato fruits at different ripening stages and their effects on normal and cancer cells" Journal of Functional Foods (2015), 18, 83-94.

Antimicrobial peptides

Since bacterial antibiotic resistance has grown into a major threat to public health, the discovery and development of new antibiotic compounds has become imperative. A promising antibiotic class is that of Host Defence Peptides (HDPs), also called AntiMicrobial Peptides (AMPs), which occur naturally as part of host defence systems in all domains of life. Recently, by using an innovative bioinformatic method, we discovered a novel HDP in human ApoB (region 914-950), and produced two recombinant variants of this HDP, named ApoBL and ApoBS. Both HDPs were successfully produced in bacterial cells, and found to be endowed with a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity. They were also found to be able to elicit anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, synergistic effects were observed when peptides were tested in combination with conventional antibiotics or EDTA. Since they were found to be neither toxic nor hemolytic when tested on eukaryotic cells, ongoing experimenta l activities are aimed at testing their applicability in biomedical, food and cosmeceutical fields.

Selected publications:

Molecular bases of ApoA-I associated amyloidoses

Specific apolipoprotein A-I variants are associated to severe hereditary amyloidoses whose organ distribution seems to depend on the position of the mutation, since mutations in residues from 1 to 75 are mainly associated to hepatic and renal amyloidosis, while mutations in residues from 173 to 178 are mostly responsible for cardiac, laryngeal, and cutaneous amyloidosis. Molecular bases of this tissue specificity are still poorly understood, but it is increasingly emerging that protein destabilization induced by amyloidogenic mutations is neither necessary nor sufficient for amyloidosis development. We recently analyzed the effects of cellular context on the fibrillogenis of two AApoAI amyloidogenic variants, AApoAIL75P and AApoAIL174S, and demonstrated that defined cell contexts selectively induce fibrillogenesis of specific AApoAI variants. Ongoing experiments are aimed at identifying specific molecular elements playing a key role in this selective induction of fibrillogenic pathway.

Selected publications:

  • E. Pizzo, K. Pane, A. Bosso, N. Landi, S. Ragucci, R. Russo, R. Gaglione, M.D.T. Torres, C. de la Fuente-Nunez, A. Arciello, A. Di Donato, E. Notomista, A. Di Maro, "Novel bioactive peptides from PD-L1/2, a type 1 ribosome inactivating protein from Phytolacca dioica L. Evaluation of their antimicrobial properties and anti-biofilm activities" Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2018), 1860, 1425-35.
  • 2. R. Gaglione, L. Pirone, B. Farina, S. Fusco, G. Smaldone, M. Aulitto, E. Dell'Olmo, E. Roscetto, A. Del Gatto, R. Fattorusso, E. Notomista, L. Zaccaro, A. Arciello, E. Pedone, P. Contursi, "Insights into the anticancer properties of the first antimicrobial peptide from Archaea" Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2017), 1861, 2155-64.
  • 3. A. Bosso, L. Pirone, R. Gaglione, K. Pane, A. Del Gatto, L. Zaccaro, S. Di Gaetano, D. Diana, R. Fattorusso, E. Pedone, V. Cafaro, H.P. Haagsman, A. van Dijk, M.R. Scheenstra, A. Zanfardino, O. Crescenzi, A. Arciello, M. Varcamonti, E.J.A. Veldhuizen, A. Di Donato, E. Notomista, E. Pizzo, "A new cryptic host defense peptide identified in human 11-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 β-like: from in silico identification to experimental evidence" Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2017), 1861, 2342-53.
  • 4. R. Gaglione, E. Dell'Olmo, A. Bosso, M. Chino, K. Pane, F. Ascione, F. Itri, S. Caserta, A. Amoresano, A. Lombardi, H.P. Haagsman, R. Piccoli, E. Pizzo, E.J. Veldhuizen, E. Notomista, A. Arciello, "Novel human bioactive peptides identified in Apolipoprotein B: Evaluation of their therapeutic potential" Biochem. Pharmacol. (2017), 130, 34-50.
    • R. Gaglione, G. Smaldone, R. Di Girolamo, R. Piccoli, E. Pedone, A. Arciello, "Cell milieu significantly affects the fate of AApoAI amyloidogenic variants: predestination or serendipity?" Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2018), 1862, 377-84.
    • A. Arciello, R. Piccoli, D.M. Monti, "Apolipoprotein A-I: the dual face of a protein" FEBS Lett. (2016), 590, 4171-79.
    • G. Rusciano, G. Pesce, G. Zito, A. Sasso, R. Gaglione, R. Del Giudice, R. Piccoli, D.M. Monti, A. Arciello, "Insights into the interaction of the N-terminal amyloidogenic polypeptide of ApoA-I with model cellular membranes" Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2016), 1860, 795-801.
    • R. Del Giudice, A. Arciello, F. Itri, A. Merlino, M. Monti, M. Buonanno, A. Penco, D. Canetti, G. Petruk, S.M. Monti, A. Relini, P. Pucci, R. Piccoli, D.M. Monti, "Protein conformational perturbations in hereditary amyloidosis: Differential impact of single point mutations in ApoAI amyloidogenic variants" Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2016), 1860, 434-44.
    • A. Arciello, N. De Marco, R. Del Giudice, F. Guglielmi, P. Pucci, A. Relini, D.M. Monti, R. Piccoli, "Insights into the fate of the N-terminal amyloidogenic polypeptide of ApoA-I in cultured target cells" J. Cell. Mol. Med. (2011), 15, 2652-63.