De Flora & Zocchi's Group

department of experimental medicine , section of biochemistry, University of Genova, Italia
Group Leader
Prof. Antonio De Flora,; Prof. Elena Zocchi,
Researchers: Dr. Lucrezia Guida, Dr. Santina Bruzzone, Dr. Laura Sturla
Postdoc: Dr. Sonia Scarfì, Dr. Chiara Fresia, Dr. Giovanna Basile, Dr. Mirko Magnone
PhD students: Alessia Grozio, Elena Mannino
Scientific interests
The group follows different lines of research; specifically, in the field of stem cell research, the interests are focused on the elucidation of proliferation and differentiation mechanisms of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells isolated from human bone marrow and/or adipose tissue. In particular the group is interested in the biochemical role of the plant hormone abscisic acid, of the second messenger cyclic-ADPR and of the dinucleotide b-NAD+. These molecules, both inside and outside the cell, stimulate functions typical of bone marrow stem cells such as activation, proliferation, differentiation and immunomodulation, triggered by specific membrane receptors and signal transduction pathways.
analysis of nucleotide biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, production of recombinant proteins, analysis of signal transduction pathways, intracellular calcium changes, intracellular localization studies by confocal microscopy.
relevant publications
1.    Bruzzone S., Moreschi I., Usai C., Guida L., Damonte G., Salis A., Scarfì S., Millo E., De Flora A. and Zocchi E. “Abscisic acid is an endogenous cytokine in human granulocytes with cyclic ADP-ribose as second messenger ” PNAS, 104(14): 5759-5764, 2007.
2.    Scarfì S., Ferraris C., Fruscione F., Fresia C., Guida L., Buzzone S., Usai C., Parodi A., Millo E., Salis A., Burastero G., De Flora A. and Zocchi E. “Cyclic ADP-ribose-mediated expansion and stimulation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells by the plant hormone abscisic acid“ Stem Cells, 26(11):2855-2864, 2008.
3.    Scarfì S, Fresia C, Ferraris C, Bruzzone S, Fruscione F, Usai C, Benvenuto F, Magnone M, Podestà M, Sturla L, Guida L, Albanesi E, Damonte G, Salis A, De Flora A, Zocchi E. “The plant hormone Abscisic Acid stimulates the proliferation of human hemopoietic progenitors through the second messenger cyclic ADP-ribose” STEM CELLS, 27(10): 2469-2477, 2009.
4.    Sturla L, Fresia C, Guida L, Bruzzone S, Scarfì S, Usai C, Fruscione F, Magnone M, Millo E, Basile G, Grozio A, Jacchetti E, Allegretti M, De Flora A, Zocchi E.“LANCL2 is necessary for abscisic acid binding and signaling in human granulocytes and in rat insulinoma cells” J Biol Chem, 284(41): 28045-28057, 2009.
5.    BurasteroG, Scarfì S, Ferraris C, Fresia C, Sessarego N, Fruscione F, Monetti F, Scarfò F, Schupbach P,Podestà M, Grappiolo G. and Zocchi E. “The association of human mesenchymal stem cells with BMP-7 improves bone regeneration of critical-size segmental bone defects in athymic rats” Bone, 47: 117-126, 2010.
Scientific instruments
Cell culture facility: biohazard hoods, incubators, inverted microscopies, refrigerated centrifuges, refrigerators, -80° freezers, thermostatated baths, microfuge, liquid nitrogen containers.
Molecular biology facility and recombinat protein production: PCR, real-time PCR, hood, incubators for bacteria, rocking platforms, ultracentrifuge.
Instrumentation for biochemical research: spectrophotometers, pHmeters, stirrers, spectrofluorimeter, microplate reader, western blot and electrophoresis apparatus, Chemidoc UV e chemioluminescence analyzer, Cyclone radioactivity analyzer, beta-counter, HPLC, ion trap and Q-TOF mass spectrometers, chemical hoods, liofilizator, rotavapor, refrigerators, freezers, confocal microscopy, fluorimeter for quantification of intracellular calcium concentration.

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