Vincenzo Cavalieri
Vincenzo Cavalieri
affiliation: Università di Palermo
research area(s): Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology
Course: Cell Biology
University/Istitution: Università di Palermo
2008/present day: Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology (SSD BIO/11), Faculty of Sciences, Advanced Degree Course of Biotechnology, University of Palermo, Italy
2008/present day: Member of the Scientific Committee of the PhD course in Cell and Developmental Biology
2008/present day: LLP-Erasmus Program Coordinator for students of the Advanced Degree Course of Biotechnology
2008/2010: Head of the Organizing Committee for the Annual Scientific Meeting of the DBCS
2008: Visiting Scientist, Stazione Zoologica"A.Dohrn", Naples, Italy
2007: Specialist in Microbiology and Virology (50/50 cum laude), University of Palermo, Italy
2007: Visiting Scientist, Stazione Zoologica"A.Dohrn", Naples, Italy
2006: Member of the International Sea Urchin Genome Sequencing and Annotation Consortium
2005: Visiting Scientist, University de Pierre et Marie Curie, Villefranche sur Mer, Nice, France
2004/2008: Recipient of a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Italian Ministry of the University, Palermo, Italy
2004: PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology (full marks), University of Palermo, Italy
2001: Recipient of a Fellowship from the CNR of Palermo, Italy
2000: MS Biological Sciences (110/110 cum laude), University of Palermo, Italy
My work is carried out primarily on the sea urchin embryo Paracentrotus lividus. I hope to understand the molecular, cellular and developmental events that lead to specific gene expression patterns.
Main research interests concern:
- Functional characterization of Enhancer and Chromatin Insulators of the early histone genes;
- Identification, functional characterization and cis-regulatory analysis of genes involved in the embryonic morphogenesis.
My research combines molecular, cellular, biochemical, transgenic and in vivo imaging techniques. In particular, I make extensive use of gene transfer methodology, blastomere recombination procedures, Quantitative RT-PCR and Chromatin ImmunoPrecipitation (ChIP) assays.
Cavalieri V, Guarcello R, Spinelli G (2011). Specific expression of a TRIM-containing factor in ectoderm cells affects the skeletal morphogenetic program of the sea urchin embryo. Development (in revision)

Cavalieri V, Melfi R, Spinelli G. (2009). Promoter activity of the sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividus) nucleosomal H3 and H2A and linker H1 α-histone genes is modulated by enhancer and chromatin insulator. Nucleic Acids Res. 37(22):7407-15

Pellicanò M, Picone P, Cavalieri V, Carrotta R, Spinelli G, Di Carlo M. (2009). The sea urchin embryo: a model to study Alzheimer's beta amyloid induced toxicity. Arch Biochem Biophys. 483(1):120-6.

Cavalieri V, Di Bernardo M, Spinelli G. (2009). Functional studies of regulatory genes in the sea urchin embryo. Methods Mol Biol. 518:175-88.

Cavalieri V, Di Bernardo M, Anello L, Spinelli G. (2008). cis-Regulatory sequences driving the expression of the Hbox12 homeobox-containing gene in the presumptive aboral ectoderm territory of the Paracentrotus lividus sea urchin embryo. Dev Biol. 321(2):455-69.

Romancino DP, Montana G, Cavalieri V, Spinelli G, Di Carlo M. (2008). EGFR signalling is required for Paracentrotus lividus endomesoderm specification. Arch Biochem Biophys. 474(1):167-74.

Di Caro V, Cavalieri V, Melfi R, Spinelli G. (2007). Constitutive promoter occupancy by the MBF-1 activator and chromatin modification of the developmental regulated sea urchin alpha-H2A histone gene. J Mol Biol. 365(5):1285-97.

Cavalieri V, Bernardo MD, Spinelli G. (2007). Regulatory sequences driving expression of the sea urchin Otp homeobox gene in oral ectoderm cells. Gene Expr Patterns. 7(1-2):124-30.

Sea Urchin Genome Sequencing Consortium, Sodergren E, Weinstock GM, Davidson EH, …Brown ER, Cavalieri V, Duboc V, Duloquin L, Flytzanis C, Gache C, … Thorn R, Wright R. (2006). The genome of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Science. 314(5801):941-52.

Di Caro D, Melfi R, Alessandro C, Serio G, Di Caro V, Cavalieri V, Palla F, Spinelli G. (2004). Down-regulation of early sea urchin histone H2A gene relies on cis regulative sequences located in the 5' and 3' regions and including the enhancer blocker sns. J Mol Biol. 342(5):1367-77.

Cavalieri V, Spinelli G, Di Bernardo M. (2003). Impairing Otp homeodomain function in oral ectoderm cells affects skeletogenesis in sea urchin embryos. Dev Biol. 262(1):107-18.
Project Title:
Analysis of the Gene Regulatory Network for ectoderm to mesenchyme communication during embryogenesis
The synthesis of the embryonic endoskeleton in sea urchin is one of the key examples of directed migration and formation of cellular and structural patterns of considerable complexity, and it relies on a ectoderm to mesenchyme inductive process. A group of genes encoding for transcription factors and regulatory enzymes involved in such a process has been recently identified in my lab. The regulatory relationship among these genes and other known skeletogenic-related genes will be evaluated.

Project Title:
Functional characterization of a novel chromatin insulator of the sea urchin histone gene cluster
Chromatin insulators are key regulatory elements that may direct a transcriptional enhancer to prefer a specific promoter in complex genetic loci. The sea urchin early histone gene cluster represents an interesting model system to investigate the specificity of function of an enhancer element in close proximity of different gene promoters. The cis-regulatory sequences of these genes have been extensively studied in my lab. Recently, a novel chromatin insulator has been identified within the H4-H2B genomic spacer. In this project, the functional role of this insulator will be studied in detail.