Institute of biophysics (IBF)



The genus Flavivirus (Flaviviridae family) consists of over seventy viruses, mostly transmitted by arthropods and pathogenic to humans. Among them, Dengue virus, West Nile virus, Japanese Encephalitis virus, Yellow Fever virus and the recent re-emerging Zika virus, occupy a special area within the RNA virus world. An effective and specific therapy against flaviviruses is currently not available and also the broad-spectrum antiviral ribavirin appears ineffective to treat flavivirus infections. ...

Proteine CLC - Canali ionici passivi e trasportatori attivi

Il trasporto di ioni attraverso le membrane cellulari è uno dei processi biologici più delicati e viene affidato a specifiche proteine integrali di membrana. Per esempio, il segnale nervoso si trasmette attraverso un sistema di feedback positivo mediato da "canali ionici" dipendenti dal potenziale elettrico. Termodinamicamente i canali ionici sono dispositivi passivi che sfruttano gradienti ionici creati da trasportatori ionici attivi. Fino a qualche anno fa si pensava che queste due classi di ...

Modulation of chloride ion flow: blockers of CLC channels as probes of structure and models for drug design.

Ion channels are important proteins for many physiological processes. Examples range from cellular excitability to urine production. In fact, many drugs have ion channels as their target, for example many neuropharmaceuticals. Furthermore, "channelopathies" - diseases caused by mutations in genes coding for ion channels, represent a vast class of pathologies. A family of chloride ion channels, the so-called CLC chloride channel family, comprises nine members in humans and mutations in at least ...

Fighting bacterial infections: disarming rather than killing.

A warning was issued a few years ago by the World Health Organization about the proliferation of antimicrobial-resistant bacterial strains and has recently been reiterated by various scientific societies and the European Union. The phenomenon is alarming both because of its frequency and of the fast pace at which it is spreading. The cost of treating these infections is now about twice that of treating diseases caused by antibiotic-sensitive strains. In Great Britain, the health bill for ...

Electrophysiological recordings on isolated sponge cells: a model system for the study of ancient responses to environmental stimuli?

Armando Carpaneto Our project focuses on the investigation of temperature effects on sponges (phylum Porifera) and the identification of the molecular bases for this phenomenon. Temperature represents a fundamental environmental parameter, able to modulate and determine a variety of physiological processes. In sponges the first event to be recognised in response to a temperature increase is the activation of a plasma membrane ion channel permeable to potassium and sodium. The activation ...

Bacterial toxins: knowing them is paramount for defeating them

Gianfranco Menestrina, Biophysics Institute, Trent Division Thought to have been eliminated with the discovery of penicillin, bacterial threats are now back for two important reasons: the development of resistance and bio-terrorism. The overuse of antibiotics, in the health and food chains, has put us at risk for the rising of resistant super-bugs that cannot be cured. We have already bred new strains of Staphylococcus aureus, a microorganism responsible in the USA of 2 million infections ...