From Cnidarian immunobiology to cultural heritage applications

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The study of cnidarians immunity, as model systems of metazoans, lead additional informations on the first steps of the immunity evolution. The functions of the genes and cellular pathways in higher vertebrates are conserved during the evolution of metazoans, as shown by the discovery of homologues in cnidarians. These basal metazoans in fact, are far from "simples" in the range of methods at their disposal to deal with potential prey but also invading microbes and pathogens. They can give informations about the invertebrates innate immune repertoire.We investigated the immunobiology starting from the inflammatory response in Anemonia sulcata (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) following injection of substances different in type and dimension, to understand the effector mechanisms involved in this process. We observed clear, strong and specific reactions especially after injection of bacteria and the alteration of the expression of enzymes (protease, phosphatase and esterase), showing a correlation between the appearance of the inflammatory reaction and the modification of enzymatic activities.From cnidarian phylum a large number of toxic compounds have been isolated. Tissues and mucus produced by cnidarians may have a role in immune defense and contain a variety of toxins as neurotoxins, cytolysins and antimicrobial peptides, which can have multifunctional role.The bioactive molecules were purified by acid extraction and HPLC purifications and characterized through biological assays, mass spectroscopy and peptide synthesis. Here, we show the cnidarian bioactive molecules as antimicrobial peptides and enzymes in order to draw applications in fields ranging from pharmacology to cultural heritage. Particularly, in the control of the microbic growth and especially in the tuning of biocleaning protocols, bioactive molecules with proteasic and esterasic activity have been used. These novel enzymes are active at temperature lower than 30°C, they need a reduced time of application and are safety for both operators and environment. Thus they could provide an important contribution to the development of sustainable innovative protocols.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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