My activity is focused on two research areas with the objective of identifying the mechanisms that drive neurodegeneration in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Moreover, it includes the adoption of therapeutic approaches. The first research area concerns the structural and mechanical characterization of the lipid membrane on a solid support and the analysis of its possible modifications induced by external agents such as pathological proteins and potential drugs. The atomic force microscope (AFM) is used both to observe the morphology of the membranes and to perform spectroscopic force measurements on the membrane. The cytotoxic effects of pathological aggregates seem to be linked to alterations of the concentrations of calcium ions inside the cell. Some of the channels that regulate trans-membrane calcium flow are mechano-sensitive. The second research area concerns the measure of the flow of calcium ions in the cells induced by mechanical stimuli. This study is executed both in the absence and presence of oligomeric aggregates to understand if mechano-sensitive channels are involved in neurodegenerative diseases. Calcium-sensitive fluorescent indicators were used to detect the flow of calcium ions. A confocal microscope allows the acquisition of fluorescent images.
Amphiphilic gold nanoparticles perturb phase separation in multidomain lipid membranes
S.; Brescia R.; Stellacci F.; Rossi G.; Relini A. Nanoscale. (2020)