Alessandro Tossi
Alessandro Tossi
affiliation: Università di Trieste - Dip. di Scienze della Vita
research area(s): Immunity And Infection, Chemical Biology
Course: Molecular Biomedicine
University/Istitution: Università di Trieste
Studies: 1978-1980 University of Melbourne, chemistry; 1980-1982 University of Dublin, degree in chemistry; 1987 Ph.D. in chemistry.
Postgraduate research: 1990-1992 International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) Trieste; 1989 – 1990 Dept. of Chemistry, University of Dublin; 1987-1990 Max-Planck-Institut fur Strahlenchemie, Germany.
Positions: 1992 - 2002, Assistant Professor, 2002 - present, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Trieste
Teaching: 1996 - present, Senior lecturer in biochemistry, Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1985-1986 Assistant lecturer in reaction kinetics and photochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Dublin
Publications and IP: Co-author of over 80 original papers and invited reviews (one of which with almost 500 citations) in international refereed journals, with an H-index of 29. Issue editor for two journal issues on antimicrobial peptides. Co-inventor in 4 patents on antimicrobial and viral protease inhibitor peptides.
Research Interests: Sequence and structure analysis of bioactive peptides; peptide synthesis; identification and functional/structural characterization, SAR, mode of action and evolution of host defence peptides (HDPs); de novo design and synthesis and testing of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in particular belonging to the helical, proline-rich and defensin groups; design and peptidomimetic inhibitors of HIV aspartic protease; development of bioinformatic tools for studying AMPs (hydrophobicity index scales and software, databases).
Projects: Marie Curie IAPP (NAM - New AntiMicrobials) in the 7th FP; FVG regional project R3A2 (Regional Research Network on Antiinfective Agents).
Other information: Bilingual English/Italian, good spoken Catalan, working knowledge of French, Spanish and German.
The study of endogenous antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in animals, in particular cathelicidins and beta-defensins; modes of antimicrobial action of helical, proline-rich and defensin AMPs; immunomodulatory effects of cathelicidins and defensins; characterization of AMPs by antimicrobial activity assays (e.g. MIC, growth and killing kinetics assays), interactions of AMPs with bacterial and host cells via biochemical methods (e.g. permeabilization assays, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy), interactions of AMPs with model membranes via biophysical methods (e.g. fluorescence and CD studies with LUVs, surface plasmon resonance on immobilised membranes); design and synthesis of AMP variants, including redesigned, minimalized natural AMPs, covalent dimers, fluorescently labelled peptides and analogs with non-proteinogenic amino acids rationally probe structure-activity relationships; use of bacterial variants and mutants to probe the relevance of specific membrane components or protein targets; evolutionary studies of cathelicidins and defensins in vertebrates; rational de novo design of optimised artificial AMPs.
• A Tossi, M Scocchi, S Zahariev, R Gennaro. (2012) Use of Unnatural Amino Acids to Probe Structure-Activity Relationships and Mode-of-Action of Antimicrobial Peptides. Methods Mol Biol. 2794:169-83.
• M. Scocchi, A. Tossi, R. Gennaro (2011) Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides: converging to a non-lytic mechanism of action. Cell Mol. Life Sci. 68(13):2317-30.
• F. Morgera, S. Pacor, L. Creatti, N. Antcheva, L. Vaccari, A. Tossi. (2011) Effects on APC antigen presenting cells of short-term interaction with the human human host defense peptide beta-defensin 2. Biochem. J. 436:537-546
• D. Juretić, D. Vukičević, D. Petrov, M.Novković, V. Bojović, B. Lučić,N. Ilić, A. Tossi, (2011) Knowledge-based computational methods for identifying or designing novel, non-homologous antimicrobial peptides. Eur. J. Biophys. 40(4):371-85
• L. Padovan, L. Segat, A. Pontillo, N. Antcheva, A.Tossi, S.Crovella (2010) Histatins in non-human primates: gene variations and functional effects. Protein Pept Lett. 17(7):909-18.
• V. Sass, T. Schneider, M.Wilmes, C. Koerner, A. Tossi, N. Novikova, O. Shamova, and H.-G. Sahl (2010) Human -defensin 3(hBD3) inhibits cell wall biosynthesis in staphylococci Infect. Immun. (Epub ahead of print).
• L. Padovan, M. Scocchi, A. Tossi (2010) Structural Aspects of Plant Antimicrobial Peptides. Curr Protein Pept Sci. 78(6):2793-2800
• L. Padovan, S. Crovella, A. Tossi, L. Segat (2010) Techniques for Plant Defensin Production Curr Protein Pept Sci. 17(3):297-304.
• Benko-Iseppon, S. Galdino, T Calsa Jr, E. Kido, A. Tossi, L. Belarmino, S. Crovella (2010) Overview on Plant Antimicrobial Peptides. Curr Protein Pept Sci. 17(3):231-235.
• L. Padovan, L. Segat, A. Tossi, T. Calsa Jr, A.K. Ederson, L. Brandao, R.L. Guimarães, V. Pandolfi, M.C. Pestana-Calsa, L.C. Belarmino, A.M. Benko-Iseppon, S. Crovella Characterization of a new defensin from cowpea (2010) (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.). Protein Pept. Lett. 17(3):297-304
• L.Tomasinsig, G. De Conti, B. Skerlavaj, R. Piccini, M. Mazzilli, F. D’Este, A. Tossi, M. Zanetti (2010) Broad spectrum activity against bacterial mastitis pathogens and activation of mammary epithelial cells support a protective role of neutrophil cathelicidins in bovine mastitis Infect. Immun. 78(4):1781-1788.
• L. Tomasinsig, M. Benincasa, M. Scocchi, B. Skerlavaj, A. Tossi, M. Zanetti, and R.Gennaro (2010) Role of cathelicidin peptides in bovine host defence and healing Probiotics Antimic.Prot. 2(1):12-20.
Project Title:
Evolution of cathelicidins in vertebrates and effects of variations on their mode-of-action.
Specific research projects will be discussed with interested applicants