Fiorella Lo Schiavo
Fiorella Lo Schiavo
affiliation: Università di Padova
research area(s): Cell Biology, Molecular Biology
Course: Biosciences and Biotechnologies
University/Istitution: Università di Padova
Education and Appointments: July 1974 Doctorate in Biology cum laude, University of Naples; October 1974 winner of a national competition for a doctorate fellowship at Normale Superiore, Pisa; 1975-1976 one year fellowship c/o Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Prof. A. Garcia-Bellido); 1976 short EMBO fellowship Inst. of Botany, University of Nottingham (Prof. E. Cocking); 1976 Research Fellow Institute of Mutagenesis and Differentiation National Research Council, Pisa (Prof. M. Terzi); 1983-1984 Research Associate, dept. of Genetics and Plant Pathology, University of California at Berkeley (Prof. Z.R. Sung); 1986 Research Fellow, International Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, Naples; 1987-1990 Associate Professor of Plant Physiology, University of Basilicata, Faculty of Agriculture at Potenza; 1991-2000 Associate Professor of Plant Physiology, University of Padua, Faculty of Science at Padova.
In all these years she has been responsable of National and International research projects, has acted as scientific referee for the European Union, the National Science Foundation of USA and various journals. She is past general Secretary of the IAPTC (International Association Plant Tissue Culture). She has been a director of the Italian Society of Plant Physiology from 1995 to 2002 and since 2009 she is a director of the Italian Society of Plant Biology. She is a member of the School of Doctorate in Bioscience and Biotechnology of the University of Padova.
Research activity: the research activity of Prof. Lo Schiavo began with her thesis (in the field of bacterial molecular genetics at the International Institute of Genetics and Biophysics) which received special mention at the competition for the best doctoral thesis in Molecular Biology (Scoffone-Cremona prize). Subsequently she worked in Drosophila genetics (Canto Blanco University, Madrid, Spain) and plant somatic cell genetics (Pisa, Italy). In 1982 she entered in a project for the isolation and characterization of temperature-sensitive carrot cell mutants: the study of alterations in plant cell differentiation has been the object of two consecutive 3-year programmes of the European Union, that originated several publications, the core of her scientific production up to the end of the 90's. After that, she studied the action mechanism of auxin, its perception and its effects on signal transduction. More recently, she has been involved in the isolation and physiological characterization of potassium ionic channels and the definition of their functions during various plant developmental stages.
Another subject presently investigated concerns the basic mechanisms of organ senescence using cell cultures as model systems- and in particular, the final stages of cell senescence.
Marco Vescovi, Michael Riefler, Micael Gessuti, Ondrej Novak, Thomas Schmulling, Fiorella Lo Schiavo (2012). Programmed cell death induced by high levels of cytokinin in Arabidopsis cultured cells is mediated by the cytokinin receptor CRE1/AHK4 
. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY, vol. 63, p. 2825-2832

- Giovanna Loro, Ilaria Drago, Tullio Pozzan, Fiorella Lo Schiavo, Michela Zottini, Alex Costa (2012). Targeting of Cameleon to different subcellular compartments reveals a strict cytoplasmic/mitochondrial Ca2+ handling relationship in plant cells. PLANT JOURNAL, vol. 71(1), p. 1-13

- Alex Costa, Paul Vijay Kanth, Anna Boccaccio, Joachim Scholz-Starke, Margherita Festa, Barbara Basso, Ilaria Zanardi, Michael Pusch, Fiorella Lo Schiavo, Franco Gambale, Armando Carpaneto (2012). The Arabidopsis central vacuole as an expression system for intracellular transporters: Functional characterization of the Cl-/H+ exchanger CLC-7. THE JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY, vol. 1; 590 (Pt15), p. 3421-3430

- FRANCIA D, CHILTZ A, F. LO SCHIAVO, PUGIN A, BONFANTE P, CARDINALE F (2011). AM Fungal exudates activate MAP kinases in plant cells in dependence from cytosolic Ca2+ increase. PLANT PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY, vol. 49, p. 963-969

- TEARDO E, FORMENTIN E, SEGALLE A, GIACOMETTI G.M, MARIN O, ZANETTI M, F. LO SCHIAVO, ZORATTI M, SZABÒ I (2011). Dual localization of plant glutamate receptor AtGLR3.4 to plastids and plasmamembrane . BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-BIOENERGETICS, vol. 1807, p. 359-367

- HORIE T, BRODSKY D.E, COSTA A, KANEKO T, F. LO SCHIAVO, KATSUHARA M, SCHROEDER J.I (2011). K+ transport by the OsHKT2;4 transporter from rice (Oryza sativa) with atypical Na+ transport properties and competition in permeation of K+ over Mg2+ and Ca 2+ ions. PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, p. 1-10
Project Title:
Analysis of the ion transport system and study of the components of signalling pathways in response to saline stress

The aim of this topic is the analysis of the transcriptional profile and the cellular localization of channels and transporters in different rice cultivars, in presence or absence of high concentrations of salt. Furthermore, the role of nitric oxide (NO) in the signalling pathway of salt stress will be investigated using imaging techniques in rice seedlings.

Detailed experimental plan:
Na+ enters roots passively via both low- (K+ channels, Glutamate receptors) and high-affinity (HKT, Na/K simport) transport systems, while Na+ exclusion and compartmentalization in the vacuole occur actively (SOS1, Na/K antiport). The spatio-temporal regulation of such transport systems is crucial for salt tolerance. In fact genes encoding those proteins would be differentially expressed in 1) cells, tissues and organs of the same plant, 2) in plants under high Na+ conditions, 3) in cultivars with different salt tolerance.
The rice genome encodes a higher number of channels and transporters than the ones encoded by Arabidopsis. In fact, more than 27 K+ channels, 27 K+ transpoters and 9 Na+ transporters have been identified. Two of them have been already characterized and their expression level has been related to some Japanese rice salt tolerant cultivars.
A group of genes will be studied by RealTime-PCR on 2 clearly distinct cultivars (high- and low-salt sensitivity) chosen among cultivars already tested in salted fields by the Partner 1. The study of the tissue and subcellular localization of the selected proteins by both RT-PCR and confocal microscopy will help us to discriminate between transport protein involved in the extrusion/accumulation (endomembranes, organelles) or in the passive entering (plasmamembrane) of Na+ into the cell. To ascertain the specificity of such transporters, electrophysiological studies will be carried out.
Roots respond immediately to high salt concentration in the soil and leaves are then ready to sequester the ion into the vacuoles. The molecule involved in the sensing of the salt stress is still unknown, but there are some evidences that a Na transporter could be involved. Moreover, the signal molecule nitric oxide (NO) is a regulator of Na/H antiporters and K channels. Therefore, we will investigate the hypothesis that Na+ transporters and NO are related to salt tolerance by treating seedlings of the two reference cultivars with nitric oxide donors and looking for different expression or localization or functionality of transporter proteins selected as mentioned above.
Following the collection of these data, the selected genes will be tested as salt tolerance markers by screening about 20 Italian rice cultivars growing in the delta of rivers. Real-Time-PCR techniques will be applied for the selection of most tolerant cultivars that will be further tested in salty soils.