CCMAR Seminars: Animal-like prostaglandins in marine microalgae (Eicosanoid metabolites in Skeletonema marinoi) | - CCMAR -

CCMAR Seminars: Animal-like prostaglandins in marine microalgae (Eicosanoid metabolites in Skeletonema marinoi)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Room 2.31 A (bdg 7)


December 20th, at 1:30 pm on Room 2.31 A (bdg 7)

Animal-like prostaglandins in marine microalgae (Eicosanoid metabolites in Skeletonema marinoi)

Valeria di Dato   
(Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn Napoli (SZN), Integrated Marine Ecology Department)






Diatoms are among the most successful primary producers in ocean and freshwater environments, besides being the most fascinating organisms because of their mixed genome containing bacterial, animal and plant genes. Studying the transcriptomes of two strains of the diatom Skeletonema marinoi we report, for the first time in microalgae, an active animal-like prostaglandin pathway that is differentially expressed in the two strains. Prostaglandins are very important hormone-like mediators in many physiological and pathological processes in mammals. The occurrence of animal-like prostaglandins in unicellular photosynthetic eukaryotes opens up new intriguing perspectives on the evolution and role of these molecules in the marine environment as possible mediators in cell-to-cell signalling, eventually influencing population dynamics in the plankton. In addition, the possibility to easily grow microalgae in the laboratory makes them an attractive source to eventually produce natural prostaglandins, along with other secondary metabolites, for biomedical applications.

Short CV

After a master degree in biology and a PhD in molecular and cellular biology and pathology, at SZN, I went out of Italy to do a two years and half post-doc in medical field. Once back in Italy, in Naples, I did another post-doc still in medical field before to finally be back again to SZN, where I completely change my area of expertise committing myself to blu (marine)-biotech. This field is exiting due to the amazing  presence of thousands of living microorganisms, in just a little ocean drop, with many diverse forms and metabolisms that can be useful by a biotechnological point of view. Indeed, some microalgae called diatoms, living also in our seas, are able to produce molecules with pharmacological and nutraceutical activity.
My project objective is the study of the genomic and proteomic content of selected diatoms, based on their ability to pharmacologically interfere on cells from other organisms. Using bioinformatics and molecular and cellular biological methods, the study try to understand which genes are involved in the physiology and metabolism of such microalgae and the pathways responsible for the synthesis of bioactive metabolites.




Type of Event