Cytoskeleton, Morphogenesis and Cell Motility in Plants

This research line is focused on the cytoskeleton and on cytoskeleton-based processes that occur during both isotropic and polarized growth of plant cells. Specifically, this research line aims at defining the intracellular motility of organelles and vesicles, the relationship between dynamics of the cytoskeleton and cell wall deposition and the role played by endocytosis/exocytosis in the regulation of cell growth. We hope to increase the knowledge on the role of microtubules and actin filaments in plant cells and to understand how their functions are regulated by either expression of specific genes or post-translational modification of both tubulin/actin and cytoskeleton-associated proteins.

Specific research subjects:

  • Characterization of the biochemical, localization and functional properties of motor proteins
  • Analysis of the interrelationship between cytoskeleton proteins and cell wall structure
  • Regulatory role exerted by the cytoskeleton on cell wall-related enzymes
  • Post-translational modification of tubulin as detected during regular growth and under stress
  • Involvement of the cytoskeleton in the auto-incompatibility response

Researchers involved in the activities:

Giampiero Cai (associate professor)

Claudia Faleri (technical staff)

Cecilia Del Casino (technical staff)

Luigi Parrotta (research fellow,

National projects:

Investigating Self Incompatibility DEterminants in fruit trees (ISIDE), Prin 2015. Giampiero Cai as Unisi investigator. Collaborators: Universities of Milano, Bologna, Catania

International projects:

Studying cell wall-associated processes in fibers of nettle (CABERNET), funded by the National Research Fund Luxembourg. Gea Guerriero (LIST, Luxembourg) as coordinator, Giampiero Cai as Unisi Investigator