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Monia russo

Department of Ecosustainable Marine Biotechnology, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn

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Skype: moniateresarusso
ORCID: 0000-0002-8102-018
Scopus Author ID: 8045545800

Curriculum Vitae

Research interests

As a prominent component of marine phytoplankton, diatoms add significantly to its primary production. They give rise to large blooms in response to favourable environmental conditions, and play a crucial role in global biogeochemical cycles by exporting carbon from the atmosphere into the deep ocean. Their abundance in the oceans illustrates their ecological success, related to their ability to dynamically acclimate to highly variable environmental conditions and to their impressive metabolic plasticity.

My research aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which diatom regulate their growth by integrating environmental and endogenous signals. My objective is to identify functional metabolic traits related to their ecological success by using functional genomics, transcriptomics, genetic engineering and genome editing approaches. Moreover, I am interested in expanding the molecular toolbox available for established molecular model organisms (Phaeodactylum) to then transfer newly developed tools to ecologically relevant diatoms (such as Pseudo-nitzschia, Chaetoceros, Thalassiosira). This procedure enables the exploration of ecological aspects through functional analyses (i.e., how diatoms control cell growth or redox homeostasis in highly variable environmental conditions) as well as the exploitation of the enormous potential of diatoms for biotechnological applications (i.e., achieving an increase in biomass and bioactive molecules production), advancing the field of synthetic biology of microalgae.

Selected Publications

1.Santin A., Russo M.T., de Los Ríos LM, Chiurazzi M, d'Alcalà MR, Lacombe B, Ferrante MI, Rogato A. (2024). The tonoplast localized protein PtNPF1 participates in the regulation of nitrogen response in diatoms. New Phytologist 41:1592-1604. doi: 10.1111/nph.19461.
2.Russo, M.T., Rogato, A., Jaubert, M., Karas, B.J., Falciatore, A. (2023). Phaeodactylum tricornutum: An established model species for diatom molecular research and an emerging chassis for algal synthetic biology. Journal of Phycology 59:1114-1122. doi: 10.1111/jpy.13400
3.Russo, M.T., Santin, A., Zuccarotto, A., Leone, S., Palumbo, A., Ferrante, M.I., Castellano, I. (2023). The first genetic engineered system for ovothiol biosynthesis in diatoms reveals a mitochondrial localization for the sulfoxide synthase OvoA. Open Biology 13:220309. doi: 10.1098/rsob.220309 Co-corresponding authorship
4.Marotta, P., Borgonuovo, C., Santin, A., Russo, M.T., Manfellotto, F., Montresor, M., De Luca, P., and Ferrante, M.I. (2022). Mate Perception and Gene Networks Regulating the Early Phase of Sex in Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 10:1941. doi: 10.3390/jmse10121941
5.Russo, M.T., Santin, A., Rogato, A., and Ferrante, M.I. (2022) Optimized Proteolistic Protocol for the Delivery of the Cas9 Protein in Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Marine Genomics doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2313-8 Co-corresponding authorship
6.Santin, A., Balzano, S., Russo, M.T., Palma Esposito, F., Ferrante, M.I. Blasio, M., Cavalletti, E., Sardo, A. (2022). Microalgae-based PUFAs for food and feed: Current applications, future possibilities, and constraints. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 10:844. doi: 10.3390/jmse10070844
7.Petrosino, G., Ponte, G., Volpe, M., Zarrella, I., Langella, I., Di Cristina, G., Finaurini, S., Russo, M.T., Basu, S., Musacchia, F., Ristoratore, F., Pavlinic, D., Benes, V., Ferrante, M.I., Albertin, C., Simakov, O., Gustincich, S., Fiorito, G. and Sanges, R. (2022). Identification of LINE retrotransposons and long non-coding RNAs expressed in the octopus brain. BMC Biology 20:116. doi: 10.1186/s12915-022-01303-5.
8.Santin, A., Russo, M.T., Ferrante, M.I., Balzano, S., Orefice, I., and Sardo, A. (2021). Highly Valuable Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids from Microalgae: Strategies to Improve Their Yields and Their Potential Exploitation in Aquaculture. Molecules 26:7697. doi: 10.3390/molecules26247697.
9.Russo, M.T., Ruggiero, M.V., Manfellotto, F., Scriven, V., Campbell, L., Montresor, M., and Ferrante, M.I. (2021) New alleles in the mating type determination region of West Atlantic strains of Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata. Harmful Algae 103:101995 doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2021.101995. Co-corresponding authorship
10.Santin, A., Caputi, L., Longo, A., Chiurazzi, M., Ribera d'Alcalà, M., Russo, M.T., Ferrante M.I., and Rogato, A. (2021). Integrative omics identification, evolutionary and structural analysis of low affinity nitrate transporters in diatoms, diNPFs. Open Biology 11:4 doi: 10.1098/rsob.200395.
11.Osuna-Cruz, C.M., Bilcke, G., Vancaester, E., De Decker, S., Bones, A.M., Winge, P., Poulsen, N., Bulankova, P., Verhelst, B., Audoor, S., Belisova, D., Pargana, A., Russo, M.T., Stock, F., Cirri, E., Brembu, T., Pohnert, Piganeu, G., Ferrante, M.I., Mock, T., Sterck, L., Sabbe, K., De Veylder, L., Vyverman, W., Vandepoele, K. (2020). The Seminavis robusta genome provides insights into the evolutionary adaptations of benthic diatoms. Nature Communications 11:1-13. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17191-8.
12.Pargana, A., Musacchia, F., Sanges, R., Russo, M. T., Ferrante, M.I., Bowler, C., Zingone, A. (2020). Intraspecific diversity in the cold stress response of transposable elements in the diatom Leptocylindrus aporus. Genes 11:9. doi: 10.3390/genes11010009.
13.Russo, M.T., Vitale, L., Entrambasaguas, L., Anestis, K., Fattorini, N., Romano, F., Minucci, C., De Luca, P., Biffali, E., Vyverman, W., Sanges, R., Montresor, M., Ferrante, M.I. (2018). MRP3 is a sex determining gene in the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata. Nature Communications 9:5050. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07496-0.
14.Russo, M.T., Aiese Cigliano, R., Sanseverino, W., Ferrante, M.I. (2018). Assessment of genomic changes in a CRISPR/Cas9 Phaeodactylum tricornutum mutant through whole genome resequencing. PeerJ 6:e5507. doi:10.7717/peerj.5507. Co-corresponding authorship
15.Kroth, P.G., Bones, A.M., Daboussi, F., Ferrante, M.I., Jaubert, M., Kolot, M., Nymark, M., Río Bártulos, C., Ritter, A., Russo, M.T., Serif, M., Winge, P., Falciatore, A. (2018). Genome editing in diatoms: achievements and goals. Plant Cell Reports 37: 1401–1408. doi: 10.1007/s00299-018-2334-1.
16.Basu, S., Patil, S., Mapleson, D., Russo, M.T., Vitale, L., Fevola, C., Maumus, F., Casotti, R., Mock, T., Caccamo, M., Montresor, M., Sanges, R., Ferrante, M.I. (2017). Finding a partner in the ocean: molecular and evolutionary bases of the response to sexual cues in a planktonic diatom. New Phytologist 215: 140–156. doi: 10.1111/nph.14557.
17.Russo, M.T., Annunziata, R., Sanges, R., Ferrante, M.I., Falciatore, A. (2015). The upstream regulatory sequence of the light harvesting complex Lhcf2 gene of the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum enhances transcription in an orientation- and distance-independent fashion. Marine Genomics 24: 69–79. doi: 10.1016/j.margen.2015.06.010. Co-corresponding authorship
18.Sabatino, V., Russo, M.T., Patil, S., d’Ippolito, G., Fontana, A. and Ferrante, M.I. (2015). Establishment of genetic transformation in the sexually reproducing diatoms Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata and Pseudo-nitzschia arenysensis and inheritance of the transgene. Marine Biotechnology 17:452-462. Co-first authorship
19.Russo, M.T., Racioppi, C., Zanetti, L., Ristoratore, F. (2014). Expression of a single prominin homolog in the embryo of the model chordate Ciona intestinalis. Gene Expression Patterns 15:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2014.04.001.
20.Antonini, D., Russo, M.T., De Rosa, L., Gorrese, M., Del Vecchio, L., and Missero, C. (2010). Transcriptional repression of miR-34 family contributes to p63-mediated cell cycle progression in epidermal cells. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 130:1249-57. doi: 10.1038/jid.2009.438.
21.De Rosa, L., Antonini, D., Ferone, G., Russo, M.T., Yu, P. B., Han, R. and Missero, C. (2009). p63 suppresses non-epidermal gene expression by direct regulation of BMP/Smad signaling. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 284 30574-82. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.049619.
22.Sordino, P., Andreakis, N., Brown, E. R., Leccia, N. I., Squarzoni, P., Tarallo R., Alfano, C., Caputi, L., D'Ambrosio, P., Daniele, P., D'Aniello, E., D'Aniello, S., Maiella, S., Miraglia, V., Russo, M.T., Sorrenti, G., Branno, M., Cariello, L., Cirino, P., Locascio, A., Spagnuolo, A., Zanetti, L. and Ristoratore, F. (2008). Natural Variation of Model Mutant Phenotypes in Ciona intestinalis. PLoS ONE 3:e2344. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002344.
23.Alfano, C., Russo, M.T., Spagnuolo, A. (2007). Developmental expression and transcriptional regulation of Ci-Pans, a novel neural marker gene of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Gene 406 36-41. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2007.05.026. Co-first authorship
24.D’Aniello, S., D’Aniello, E., Locascio, A., Memoli, A., Corrado, M., Russo, M.T., Aniello, F., Fucci, L., Brown, E. R. and Branno, M. (2006). The ascidian homologue of the vertebrate homeobox gene Rx is essential for ocellus development and function. Differentiation 74:222-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-0436.2006.00071.x.
25.Russo, M.T., Donizetti, A., Locascio, A., D’Aniello, S., Amoroso, A., Aniello, F., Fucci, L., Branno, M. (2004). Regulatory Elements Controlling Ci-msxb Tissue Specific Expression during Ciona intestinalis embryonic development. Developmental Biology 267:517-18. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2003.11.005.
26.Aniello, F., Villano, G., Corrado, M., Locascio, A., Russo, M.T., D’Aniello, S., Fucci, L., Branno, M. (2003). Structural organization of the sea urchin DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase gene and characterization of five alternative spliced transcripts. Gene 302: 1-9. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(02)01138-1.

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