You are here: HomeStaffList of PersonnelPonte Giovanna

foto Ponte GiovannaResearcher
Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms Department

Tel. +39 081 5833318
e-mail giovanna.ponte(at)szn.it
Contatto Skype: gio.brain

Curriculum Vitae

Google scholar: https://scholar.google.it/citations?user=eMyv0-AAAAAJ&hl=en

ERC sectors - Comparative physiology (LS4_2), Neural networks and plasticity (LS5_5)

Settori scientifico-disciplinari - Fisiologia (BIO/09), Anatomia comparata e citologia (BIO/06)

Lab Members

Pizzulli Federica

Research interests

I study the neuromodulation in order to understand its role in mechanisms underlying neural and behavioral plasticity in several marine organisms, with attention to the comparative and phylogenetic analysis and the role of genomic innovations of cephalopods (i.e. 'orphan', cephalopod-specific genes, and transposable elements). The study of neuromodulators fingerprint contributes to the understanding of neural hallmarks of animal cognition and consciousness; it is at the center of my research question. The analysis of unique clusters of neurons (neuromodulation) intersects with the evaluation of the evolutionary paths that guided neural complexity (cerebrotypes) during the course of evolution, allowing organisms to adapt to different marine environments and their life-styles. This is probably also possible for the presence of an active retrotransposon (LINE1) in the nervous system of O. vulgaris. LINE1 in octopus has also important implications for the understanding of its sophisticated plasticity (neural and behavioral).
My main aim is to go beyond the connectome, trying to contribute to the understanding on how neuromodulators shape and tune the neural circuits in these fascinating organisms, i.e. cephalopods. I combine neurophysiology and imaging of target brain areas, considered to play a key role in the processing and control of both visual and tactile sensorimotor systems.
The neuro-physiological characterization of the nervous system of marine organisms is approached through the analysis of the neuro-modulatory components (e.g., octopamine and dopamine) and its plasticity (LTP and LTD) in functional preparations (slice), combining the analysis of the underlying biological machinery (e.g., gene expression, in situ hybridization).
I explore the complexity of the neural tissue and neuromodulation also considering the peripheral nervous system, including the characterization of the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) in octopus: the "Little Brain", still too little known compared to its complexity and analogy to the one of mammals.
I am co-leader of the working group that produced the draft of O. vulgaris genome and currently working for the reassembly and for chromosomal reconstruction and subsequent synteny-analysis; this has facilitated and speed up my research line.
I actively contributed to the application of organismal biology approaches to the study of animal welfare, and cooperated to the standardization of the procedures and guidance for cephalopod care, housing and welfare for experimental purposes. A work that has gained the recognition of FELASA and of the European Commission for the implementation of the Directive European 2010/63/EU to cephalopods in Member States.

Selected Publications

Styfhals, R., Zolotarov, G., Hulselmans, G., Spanier, K.I., Poovathingal, S., Elagoz, A.M., Deryckere, A., Rajewsky, N., Ponte, G., Fiorito, G., & Aerts, S. (2022). Cell type diversity in a developing octopus brain. Nature Communications, 13(1), 7392.

Petrosino, G.*, Ponte, G.*, Volpe, M., Zarrella, I., Ansaloni, F., Langella, C., Di Cristina, G., Finaurini, S., Russo, M.T., Basu, S., … & Musacchia, F. (2022). Identification of LINE retrotransposons and long non-coding RNAs expressed in the octopus brain. BMC Biology, 20(1), 116. *equal contribution

Ponte, G., Taite, M., Borrelli, L., Tarallo, A., Allcock, A.L., & Fiorito, G. (2021). Cerebrotypes in cephalopods: brain diversity and its correlation with species habits, life history, and physiological adaptations. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 14, 565109.

Zarrella, I., Herten, K., Maes, G.E., Tai, S., Yang, M., Seuntjens, E., Ritschard, E.A., Zach, M., Styfhals, R., Sanges, R., Simakov, O., Ponte, G., & Fiorito, G. (2019). The survey and reference assisted assembly of the Octopus vulgaris genome. Scientific data, 6(1), 13.

Fiorito, G., Affuso, A., Basil, J., Cole, A., de Girolamo, P., D’Angelo, L., Dickel, L., Gestal, C., Grasso, Kuba, M., Mark, F., Melillo, D., Osorio, D., Perkins, K., Ponte, G., Shashar, N., Smith, D., Smith, J., & Andrews, P.L.R. (2015). Guidelines for the care and welfare of cephalopods in research - a consensus based on an initiative by CephRes, FELASA and the Boyd Group. Laboratory Animals, 49(2 Suppl): 1-90.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. > Read More